Series 11, 2018; Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor, Bradley Walsh as Graham, Mandip Gill as Yasmin, Tosin Cole as Ryan, and Sharon D Clarke 'in a returning role'(?). Bonus pic; Hotel, starring Walsh, 12/Peter Capaldi and 8/Paul Mcgann!
THREE NEW DOCTOR WHO COMPANIONS!
So this morning a relative is all 'apparently Bradley Walsh is the new companion?' and i'm like 'that rumor's a month old, meh'. Then i checked the news... my reaction was '!?!?! A whole crew? Including an older entertaining white male so my family will be willing to watch under the pretense he's the Doctor? SCORE!!! Ha, i said waiting and seeing what the rest of Series 11 was like would help! And surely both Whittaker and Walsh can't screw up...probably...with only two random Hollyoaks stars whose faces i've ALREADY FORGOTTEN for backup...led by a writer of ITV down-to-earth drama and a few forgotten Who episodes...ALL with names that suggest 21st century British origins AGAIN... shown in a pic solely consisting of black, white, grey and beige...and not a single 'sci fi/eccentric/ quirky looking/variably emotional' performance between them save Walsh's Sarah Jane Adventures role...and all of these plus a brand new TARDIS and screwdriver have to be introduced within just 10 normal 45-50 minute episodes...and the 'young dark guy, older blonde woman, young dark girl, older white guy' setup was already used less than a year ago in Who-spinoff Class that got weak ratings and cancellation. Still, at least we got some news! Hmm...'
THE RETURN OF DOCTOR MYSTERIO
SPOILER REVIEW- Happy Christmas, Whovians! The following review will contain spoilers for The Return Of Doctor Mysterio, and Series 4's Silence in The Library/Forest Of The Dead...
We start off with an amusing intro sequence, where the Doctor's attempts to fix the time distortion around 80's New York ( connected to Series 7's The Angels Take Manhattan? ) result in him being mistaken for Santa by 8-year-old Grant. Jokes like "I'll have to ask mom if you can come in" whilst the Doctor hangs outside Grant's window, and "You swallowed it?" when the Doc gives Grant water for his cough and a gemstone to hold, are funny without trying too hard. And Peter Capaldi is on great form too- from his usual grumpy and honest demeanour, to his silly and endearing attitude towards being 'Santa' and telling Grant Superman's true identity, to his hidden grief at the loss of a friend, the Twelfth Doctor is neither fashionably jerkish and 'deep' nor someone's embarrassing dad.
But how does the Doctor's companion fare? The casting of Matt Lucas as Nardole was a surprise to many, whilst his predicament in last year's The Husbands Of River Song left viewers confused as to how exactly
Nardole would return. And it's easy to miss too-a brief "I reconstructed you because I was lonely" explains both Nardole's presence and reason for being there. But what about his character? Well...there seems to have been a
conscious attempt to avoid 'comedy relief' status, and Matt Lucas just about pulls it off, so well done. However, this kind of competence- suddenly able to fly the Tardis AND fire off expository questions, and bringing 'emotional depth' by repeatedly questioning the Doctor's grief and motives- seems contrived and ungrateful (even 12 says so), and mutes his comedic talents and cheerful attitude. And unfortunately, the insensitivity doesn't stop there. Reporter Lucy Lombard (yes, L.L) also questions the Doc throughout the episode, to the point of winding him up with a squeaky toy(yep, and IT WORKS) every time he doesn't confess all. Add to that the old 'unaware of X's true
identity' reference/gag being done to death(over 20 years?), and a nicely-done backstory with a baby can't help much. Which leads us to their protector- The Ghost. Cool origins-related name aside, Grant's life from confused child to well-meaning superhero is simply told, although sometimes he is less stoic and more wooden. Less cliché are the villains; rather than one ultra-arch-nemesis, we have gruesome brain-switching aliens and their human co-conspirators. Imposter Dr Sim's reveal and switch from mild scientist to cold mastermind is chilling (and there's even a subverted 'not aiming at the chink in the armour'- he didn't want to damage The Ghost's brain). And Mr
Brock makes up for Grant/The Ghost's emotionlessness- whether coolly deflecting pointed questions or showing fear and anger as he unsuccessfully fights against being converted. In fact, there's only one complaint about Harmony Shoal- or rather, their episode's timing. Who thought this should go out at 5.45? Primetime, Christmastime, infant fans watching, and we see head ripping aliens and a guy WITH HIS EYES TORN OUT. The scalpels and removed brains they might get away with, but this? We don't face this alone though; UNIT's military help is unobtrusive continuity. And it's not the only nod- in a tragic twist, the lost friend Twelve is grieving is confirmed to be old flame River Song. I initially thought it was yet another goodbye to companion Clara (I
really liked Clara and Jenna Coleman's performance, but not her finale send off), and was sad to hear of Alex Kingston's exit as both a viewer of The Husbands Of River Song and Silence In The Library/Forest Of The
Dead. Hopefully these plot threads won't be dragged out any longer (8 whole years!...Is Grant' age a reference to that?), and if so then thank you to Steven Moffat for a timey-wimey yet logical and surprisingly touching story arc.
So, final thoughts on this episode and it's overall impact. Some grating character behaviour and the odd bit of iffy SFX aside, this is a really decent episode- humor more funny than cringe worthy, story more engaging
than smartass, and suitable (if unmemorable) music. It's not as emotional or exciting or well-scored as RTD's Christmas specials, but less over-the-top. And if you want exciting, just head to the closing Series 10 trailer; dull grey spacesuits(I kinda liked the lurid orange though...hey, come back!), canteen chips, schooling, high pitched shrieking, frills, a quarry in Wales... fantastic! Roll on 2017, and a Happy New Year to everyone!
THE 13TH DOCTOR IS JODIE WHITTAKER- MY REACTION AND THOUGHTS ON THE BACKLASH
Hey Everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Firstly, here's my initial reaction to the announcement of the 13th Doctor's casting...
*gets up, checks news...*
Me; Wait, they're gonna announce the 13th Doctor soon? FANTASTIC! Hang on...today? As in just hours away? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
This soon after Series 10, we'll know Who(sorry) it is...
*waiting for Wimbledon to finish*
Me; Oh, here's a clip! Ok...huh, wonder what a forest has to do with anything? Maybe it's the S10 finale one? And since when does the TARDIS key just magically materialise? Hmm, so a blonde woman is heading toward the TARDIS...damn, she looks familiar. A presenter or an actress...so who will be waiting in the TARDIS? Unless...nah. Just wait and see. She must be the announcer or presenter or something...
*the blonde is confirmed as the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker- now i remember her*
Me; *stares silently at screen*...wait a second.*looks puzzled*It's...no, wait...*raises eyebrows at ''the actress is delighted as a feminist, a woman''* This...so this is really happening...*bites lip*...so this is really happening, then.*goes silent, clips of Jodie's other work are shown* Yeah never mind these clips of other stuff, that's not reflective of how she'll play this role, but this is really happening.*clips of her acting with 10 and Rory in new showrunner Chibnall's work appear* Ha, hey Rory! But...yeah, so she's worked with some other Who stars, but that's not a casting rule...but...oh, so this is really happening.*rubs chin* Yeah, so this is the moment where they've really decided. *other clips/examples used* Yeah but those are different roles, this is a character who has always been happy as a male, usually straight and an older guy despite appearences, who has never shown any personal inclination toward changing his gender outside of a few ''gender is irrelevant or petty'' lines in the past 3 or so years.*shrugs confusedly, narrows eyes*
I mean think about it, the Master we don't even know all of his incarnations, by the time of Pratt and Beevers he might've already either been female and forgot a la Missy forgetting Simm or been willing to consider the change; plus all the fake deaths and possessing people also indicates staying alive is more a priority than staying true to himself.*fellow viewer says they are unhappy Peter Capaldi is gonna turn into a woman, i snort with laughter* I don't...yeah, yes, i must admit...ok. So yeah this is.. ok One. I'm not...ok, a minute ago when they showed that clip i thought she must be the presenter or something, the whole ''not a clip, just a mockumentary'' feel... i don't know about the actress, i don't know about her acting ability, she looks ok but a bit Kate Stewart or Miss Quill in Class which is weird. Omigod. So he, Peter Capaldi, is going to turn into her, and she...she's gonna be running around the TARDIS console with a sonic screwdriver going ''I'm the Doctor'' to enemies... so she might be a good actor, but the Doctor has never wanted to be a woman and even protests against ANY change, so it doesn't fit storywise...sorry.*covers mouth to stop babbling, frowns* I...i don't...mmm. *laughs at the thought of sexists being idiots* *goes quiet in thought*
. For everyone wanting a female Doctor so they can fancy them, congratulations! ;)
. Actually making this decision has brought the show A LOT of publicity!
. Capaldi is supposed to be the first of a new set of regenerations/bodies for the Doctor, but the previous set was actually an actor short as Tennant played two incarnations. So if they'd waited till AFTER Capaldi to do the ''have a new set'' thing, they could've explained this as the Doctor being given a female incarnation rather than having to write in a change of heart. Heck, they could've had it be Simm's idea of a joke as he was with the Time Lords when they gave him the new set! God, i would have laughed at that- Simm inflicting the period on the Doctor? EVIL!! Oh, and the look on people's faces if they thought Moffat had made the Doctor's entire next set of lives female would have been priceless...
. The Doctor has always been a straight, older male. He might not be completely straight, he was apparently married with children and grandchildren once. He has always been a bit uncertain about regeneration- from complaining at the thought of his new appearence in The War Games, to the infamous ''I don't want to go'' in The End Of Time, not to mention ''So these are my replacements- a dandy and a clown!'' in The Three Doctors. He would give his life for a cause, not stay alive or return at any cost like The Master. His regenerations reflect this, from Doctor 6's more forthright attitude and ''I didn't like my last self'' after 5's politeness got him pushed around, to Doctor 10 not wanting to go and so regenerating into someone apparently younger and even further from going anywhere, to Doctor 11 accepting his fate and true age and regenerating into an older, more cynical, less sure of his life 12. Maybe the Christmas ep will successfully contradict all this, but the Doctor surely won't like it...
. In recent years some of the choices made in Doctor Who have led the viewing figures to decline, and Peter Capaldi's entire run has been during this period. So many people having been looking forward to a new era of Who, with a new showrunner and new Doctor, and hoped that it will be less controversial and that Capaldi will be remembered favourably. TURNING HIM INTO A GIRL DESPITE THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE UNSURE ABOUT THIS IDEA JUST WHEN THE SHOW HAS HAD A GENERALLY-AGREED UPWARD SWING AND PEOPLE ARE REINVESTING IN THE SHOW IS A BAD IDEA. ALL THROUGHOUT THIS MUCH-NEEDED NEW ERA YOU HAVE NOW ENSURED ARGUMENTS AND LACK OF CONFIDENCE AND UNITY, WHILST ALSO REFUSING CAPALDI A MORE CLASSIC REGENERATION THAT WOULD HAVE LEFT PEOPLE WITH A BETTER LAST MEMORY DESPITE THEIR EARLIER DOUBT IN HIS DOCTOR.
. The response to this. ''This should annoy the right kind of people'' and ''We don't want these people as fans''. WHAT THE ****?! So people are not allowed to have their own opinion? Choosing to make this change at this time is bad enough, but responding to people like this...this is an insult to all the fans that have supported the show and it's cast and crew over the years. No explanation of why it's a female now, or that as the show claims ''gender is irrelevant, just the kind of presumptous and confrontational comments i would expect FROM THE VERY INDIVIDUALS THEY ARE JIBING AT. And if this casting decision is right and people are just biased, why comments like ''I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman'' and ''I am a feminist woman'' from the new showrunner and Doctor?
I can't wait for Series 11. Who knows what storylines, monsters, casting and direction we will get, but until i see the episodes for myself i'm not dismissing the show. As for the new Doctor, i'm curious but again until i see her i can't be sure if she works as an incarnation of the Doctor or not. But one thing i don't need to see Series 11 to know; from now until the 13th Doctor regenerates, every episode will be a reminder of real-life PC debates and unpopular or ill-thought out writing decisions. Of how both fans and creators can be like the self-righteous Time Lord Victorious( you don't have to read this article or agree with it, but you will be told by both creators and fans to leave the fandom you've cared about just for having your own opinion.). And this includes the Christmas Special, and Moffat and Capaldi's era ending on a vitriolic note. Anyway, thank you for reading and i wish everyone interested in Doctor Who good luck with whatever the future holds for the show. If you'll excuse me, i'm off to rewatch the ''Oh, you've regenerated. I don't like it'' trailer...
My actress suggestions if the show ever did convince me the Doctor could be female (seems more transgender considering he started out as a guy); Emilia Fox, Sara Canning, and Keeley Hawes( Alex Kingston? Jenna Coleman? Yes, i would prefer her*ducks rotten fruit*).
Previous public suggestions; Olivia Coleman(also from Broadchurch), Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Paula Lane, and HELL NO.
Previous public male suggestions; Kris Marshall, Alexander Vlahos, Paterson Joseph, Robert Carlyle, Douglas Henshall, Ben Whishaw...
Do you have any suggestions? I'm keeping an eye on all ''female Doctor'' stuff and the Youtube reveal trailer comments, so i'll update this if i see anything. Alons-y!
UPDATE AS OF AUG 23RD, AND OCT 23RD- In terms of comments and forums, people spoken to, and videos and articles, the reception is still varying from 70% Yes 30% No to 65% No 35% Yes, myself in the No category, although many of these results are for 'Pro Female Doctor?' not 'Pro Jodie Whittaker?'. However, the opinion of her definitely seems divided too. Oh, and would people PLEASE stop giving only examples of completely positive reactions or completely vile ones as a 'No one is allowed to dislike this' argument? No? Right, Keep Confrontational And Carry On Then...
DOCTOR WHO SEASON 10 FINALE 'THE DOCTOR FALLS' REVIEW/REACTION
Hello everyone, and welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Now that Series 10 of Doctor Who is over and I know all about it, I can do a review of how it turned out. I've never been a definite fan of the 12th Doctor despite Peter Capaldi's great acting- thanks to him 12 has had moments of drama, humour and likability, but I’ve always found the writing leaning more towards inconsistent, useless and hypocritical. It's a similar case with Missy and the Master- perfect casting, scatty and inane writing. Bill I’ve liked for her humour and normality, not to mention Pearl Mackie being a great new find, although sometimes her characterisation has been too naive and foolish to make her seem suited to being a time traveller. Finally, Nardole i initially didn't like due to his stupid humour and slightly smug bossiness, but over the course of this series he has seemed more amusing and helpful. As for Series 10 itself, I’ve found it an improvement for 12 and Missy, as well as consistently entertaining with only the Monks trilogy weak- but will the finale wrap things up nicely and send off Peter Capaldi, Michelle Gomez, Matt Lucas and Pearl Mackie in style? Spoilers ahead...
"World Enough And Time" opens with the TARDIS landing in a lovely, snowy plateau- and then the Doctor staggers out and yells in pain and defiance as he BEGINS TO REGENERATE. What? Yes we know Capaldi is leaving, but the show's modern history of fake "deaths" and "regenerations" just made me roll my eyes at this point. Then come the credits (same as usual, nice that they're more consistent than in 11's era), and...wow! Some epic music here, reminiscent of the emotive music used in 9 and 10's era. And the accompanying shot doesn't disappoint either; we see a huge spaceship, a colony ship judging by the artificial crop field and streets we see through the windows, before the camera zooms out to show the whole thing is barely managing to reverse away from a black hole. On the main deck alarms are blaring, but there is an ominous absence of crew members. Then, the fun really starts- as CCTV shows, Missy emerges from the arriving TARDIS and introduces herself to said CCTV as DOCTOR WHO. She then proceeds to explain her and her "disposables", "exposition"(Bill) and "comic relief"(Nardole), have come to save the ship from the black hole "like awesome heroes" with a twirl of her sonic umbrella, and then begins bopping to the alarm sirens as i die laughing.
This is a good setup; Missy's intelligence and humour work well in a more sympathetic context, the music/ lack of it is nice, and the Doctor snacking with his feet up and watching/judging the "new team" on the TARDIS scanner is a great subtle in-joke at the viewers’ expense( "It's like watching plants grow." *crunch* "Don't test me whilst eating crisps!"). Then, a scared crew member turns up and warns them that "things" have taken away the other crew members for being human- and tries to prevent more "things" coming by shooting Bill. This is a shocking moment and nice effect; but suddenly tension is lost and confusion sets in as a lengthy flashback ensues, adding to some prior misplaced innuendos with lines like;
"We go picking up distress calls with a murderer, our usual Saturday"
"Your bacon sandwich had a mummy and daddy"
"Promise you won't get me killed! - Nah, humans pop like balloons!"
"Gallifrey's been civilised for MILLIONS of years, we're not stuck on petty things like genders"
Makes the TARDIS crew seem arrogant and blasé? Check. Makes the script seem PC-edited and contrived? Check. Makes the actors less appreciated amongst fans despite all their hard work? Check.
Following the one good bit of the flashback, the Doctor's "Missy was my oldest friend-so fast, so funny- so I want to give her a chance", we finally remember Bill just got fatally shot. The creepily-effective "things", hospital gown-clad robots, arrive and take Bill away in the lift to be "repaired". Then the Doctor and Missy question crew member "Blue"( not the usual clichéd trigger-happy redshirt's performance), leading to this sonic-wielding exchange;
Doctor-" I've left a message in her subconscious, telling her to wait for me- if they can help her, she's clearly not dead."
Missy-*Sonics lift* "Assumption."
Doctor-*joins her* "Deduction."
Missy- *blocks Blue from stopping the Doctor recall the lift*
Meanwhile, a surgeon and a janitor leave Bill to rest in a hospital room. She wakes and finds a metal plate in her chest and is confused by the Doctor's message/vision- then sneaks out of the room only to find drip-monitored mummies moaning "pain" and "kill me" endlessly. This and other touches like being able to turn down the mummies’ voice boxes are nicely done, but ripped off from Series 8's controversial and unsuitable-for-6.30 on-a-Saturday "don't cremate me" themes. (SPOILERS)Missy, robotic people, tortured pleads, 12, a younger dark-skinned companion abruptly "killed" and operated on, a condensed metallic colony city/factory, the Doctor and another companion to the rescue, twin cliff-hangers of a character reveal and a second "death" for the companion, humans in danger of Cyber-conversion, an overall dark blueish tint on the camera, random flirting, a female pretending to be the Doctor, a couple of memorable music cues; and yet this finale is considered perfectly original and a lot more popular? I like this setup and i liked it before, but i don't get how there is such a difference in popularity and also huge complaints of unoriginality over smaller moments but not an entire episode.
Anyway, next a potentially-convoluted but well executed twist is introduced- due to the black hole's warping of space and time near the main deck end of the ship, time passes a lot faster at the colony end of the ship than the main deck end( why did they cut out Missy's "magic space hole" explanation? The look on 12's face was great...). This means that in the 10-15 minutes it takes for the Doctor and co. to get access to the lift, YEARS pass for Bill as she stays with lonely janitor Mr Razor and watches the Doctor's slow-motion progress on the CCTV whilst trying to cope with her new metal heart transplant. Oh, and the Doctor gets past Blue by Venusian Akido'ing him- why didn't he do this earlier when Bill was having a gun pointed at her? Or stand in the guy's way since he can always regenerate? Or have Missy sonic the guy's gun? Or have Nardole provide a distraction? Or shove Bill back in the TARDIS? Or basically do ANYTHING other than just stand there smiling and making a speech about saving the day and being remembered whilst the clock counted down? Sorry 12, 9/10/11 all had either shorter or better lines; 7.8/10, too many speeches.
The fate of the other crew members is revealed; they were stuck for generations at the "fast" end of the ship, bred into greater numbers, had mechanical implants in order to survive the toxic fumes/rust/etc, then a few decided a more drastic conversion could result in reduced aging and therefore the ability to last long enough to reach the "slow" end/ main deck and steer the ship away from the black hole. Oh, and the ship and it's human occupants are originally from Mondas- and the robots that the people have had to become are known as Mondasian Cybermen. If you were lucky enough to avoid all spoilers documenting this prior to seeing the episode, well done; I myself had no idea of a certain character reveal until Episode 1's ending trailer, and suffice to say i basically choked and then laughed in amazement.
Then things get urgent- as Bill becomes desperate and her fragile new heart becomes unsteady at the CCTV image of the Doctor making his way to her, the well-meaning Mr Razor tries to make her "better" by handing her to the surgeons( Bill and Razor's "time and CCTV" scenes are amusing and sad, despite Razor's stupid outfit). A clueless Doctor and Nardole arrive and leave Missy to check the computers, but she is distracted by Razor's claim that he knows her ( "please keep a minimum separation distance of 3 feet" is reminiscent of Missy's previous s8 android impression, lol). As the nicely-curious music builds, some unfortunately-written dialogue re-spoils the fantastic twist- Mr Razor is The Master in disguise! The incarnation before Missy! Back after 7 years, completely out of the blue ( sans leaks, that is)!
It went like this;
*Sees Simm at the end of the Ep1 series trailer* "!?!?!?"*chokes laughing*
*Enjoying music/direction at end of World Enough And Time*
Razor to Missy- "Are you in disguise? Disguises are useful, when you're someone's former Prime Minister!"
Me-"Prime Minister? I..."
He pulls off wig etc to reveal he's The Master*
Me-"WHAT? Master! ...Damn, i and everyone else already knew about you prior to this ep due to leaks, but not whether you'd be in this ep or just the final one- and you STILL managed to surprise us! A reveal inside a reveal- MOFFAT!!"
*his tune "The Drums" plays*
Master-"I'm The Master."
Master-"And I’m very concerned about my future."
Missy looks genuinely wary.
Master-(classic smirk) - "Give us a kiss."
Me-"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's just like the old days only now we've got two Masters! Eee!"
Elsewhere, the Doctor- at some point i accepted him as such- and Nardole spot a shadowy figure against a wall.
Nardole-"EEK!...Oh, there's always a scary thing with you, isn't there?"
Doctor-"You're only getting that now?"
*They exchange a wary look, then the Doctor moves closer*
Doctor-"It's a Mondasian Cyberman!" *It steps forward weakly*"It must be a newer one, not ready for a fight yet! Maybe it'll help us- hey, i'm the Doctor, hello!"
Nardole-"It looks a bit ready for a fight!"
Doctor-"Er, we're looking for someone, Bill Potts. Can you check the Cyber-computers, find them?"
Missy-"Well, I didn"t do anything to your silly little friend..."*appears behind the Cyberman*
Cyberman-"Bill...Potts. I am Bill Potts."
Doctor-"...What?"*hesitantly reaches out to the Cyberman's solid metal chest* "What is this? What have they done to you?"
Master-"Do y'know what I’d call it?"
Face unreadable, the Doctor turns round, only to turn back as his long-gone ‘frenemy’ goes to stand by Cyberbill and grins.
Master-"I'd call it the Genesis... of the Cybermen."
Nardole stares as his friend reaches out a non-metal hand*
Deep inside the metal eye socket, Bill's eye sheds a tear- which slides down her metal cheek, creating the teardrop mark seen on all Cyberman face masks previously.* *Episode ends*
Me-"F***. THAT was the cliff-hanger? I can't wait a week to see what happens to them! And that music, direction, plot twists... GAH!"
Question; will I make YOU wait a week for Part 2 of this review?
DOCTOR WHO SEASON 10 FINALE 'WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME' REVIEW/REACTION
Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! This time we finish the finale of Doctor Who s10, and see my reaction to it...
"The Doctor Falls" starts in the colony ship's crop field/solar farm, where scarecrow-like "patients" are fought off by a band of colonist women and children- then an escape pod/shuttlecraft smashes through the ground from the floors below only to crash, leaving the Cyberman-Bill carrying an unmoving Doctor through the smoke.
Me: Hmm. This whole "children shoot at animated scarecrows in an old house/field" is a complete ripoff of Tennant ep "The Family of Blood". And how did the shuttlecraft occupants survive that crash and immediately exit without a scratch on them?
The whole thing just looks sillier and less plausible by the second; the tiny crew having descendants that survive for thousands of years, not one of them ever successfully getting to the lifts and the control deck, this even smaller group of vulnerable escapees being able to fight off tens of partially-converted Cybermen repeatedly but either not able or willing to destroy them or lock them up whilst they are deactivated THE ENTIRE DAY?
And who decided watching a bunch of unemotive child actors in a dull farmhouse should take up ANY of the finale's time (it ends up taking at least half of the episode)? Oh, and ANOTHER "dead Doctor" fake out? He's probably just unconscious ( he is)! At least the music and the striking image of Cyberbill carrying the Doctor through the smoke works.
The credits( our last glimpse of Capaldi's credits in a series...) are followed by another completely different scenario- the Doctor tied up by Missy and the Master as they jokingly threaten to torture him, laugh about torturing and killing Bill and flirt with each other in an incestuous manner.
Me: What is this? "She's behind you"? "I think i'm a woman now"? "We could burn him to death or drown him"? "Dead, dismembered, fed through a grinder and stuck as a mechanical zombie for eternity"? "Make me kiss you"(and later they refer to themselves as Bro and Sis)? They've just turned both the older, wiser Master and wiser, nicer Missy into just the sort of pantomime villains people complain about in TV! And this seriously should have been put on later than 6 on a Saturday... OK, at least A. the smoky rooftop, Doctor/Master/Missy combination and waltz music/old-style monochrome direction is great, and B. the lines "We considered throwing you off the roof, but we didn't know how many regenerations you had left- we could have been up and down the stairs all night!" and "You set up a nice little regime here, until people rebelled and you had to go into hiding so they wouldn't recognise your stupid round face." "...Round?" are hilarious.
The following visuals, plot and music only provoked the reaction of "HAHAHAHA, brilliant!", so I thought you ought to experience it for yourselves;
*suddenly alarms begin to blare, Master and Missy look surprised*
Master: What's going on? Doctor, what have you done?
Doctor: People plus technology, minus humanity; one day they'll be an army. (Oh, the real-life irony...)
Missy: *looks worried* They're coming for us!
*In the streets below, Mondasian Cybermen are suddenly all heading for the hospital the group are on top of.*
Master: But these Cybermen are primitive, they home in on human life signs only-
Doctor: *looks unbothered despite being bloodied and tied up in a wheelchair* You shouldn't have hit me-
*monochrome flashback shows the Doctor knocked aside onto the computer’s keyboards by the Masters as Nardole escapes- then the Doctor quickly starts typing*
Doctor: I was waiting for a chance, the computers containing the Cybermen's algorithm for identifying human life signs. I only had time to change one detail, a single number- a 1 to a 2. One heart to two hearts!
*The music crescendos as searchlights blind the trio of twin-hearted Time Lords, the Doctor not even caring that includes him*
Doctor: *grins* Welcome to the menu!
* A sequence of brilliant direction begins as the Cybermen advance upstairs, banging relentlessly on the doors. Missy sonic-umbrellas the doors shut as the Master pulls out his laser screwdriver and explodes a Cyberman's exposed chest unit down the fire escape in a shower of sparks.
Doctor: You can't fight a whole city!
Master: I can do this. They're not difficult, they're Cybermen!
Doctor: Knock yourself out!
* Missy's sonic umbrella whirls through the air and knocks the Master out cold*
Missy: Your wish is my command. *she unties the Doctor* I was on your side the whole time, you silly sausage.
Doctor: Is that true?
* Missy stares at him, then half laughs and turns away* Don't spoil the moment.
*The Doctor staggers to his feet and grabs her hand*
Doctor: Missy, i need to know, is that true?
* Missy hesitates, then shakes her head and glances over at the unconscious Master* I... it's hard to say. I'm in two minds, fortunately the other one's unconscious.
* The Doctor hesitates, then let’s go of her hand and runs to look over the roof edge. The music quiets briefly as Missy looks at her hand, then raises it to her head.*
*Doctor contacts robotic Nardole via his sonic screwdriver* Nardole, have you been useful?
Nardole( via intercom): Yeah. Found this in the loading bay.
*A small shuttlecraft rises up above the rooftop and a rope ladder falls out*
*Missy and the Doctor pull the stirring Master to his feet as he clutches his head*
Master: Oww, you hit me really hard...
Missy: You're telling me, i think i've still got the bump!
*As Missy helps the Master onto the ladder, another Cyberman sneaks onto the rooftop- and violently electrocutes the Doctor. Missy scrambles to point the Master's dropped laser screwdriver at his attacker- only to look surprised as CyberBill stumbles forwards and shoots her fellow Cyberman dead. She then steps forward to protect the injured Doctor as he collapses.*
Missy( cups her ear): What's that, Doctor? You'll only slow us down? Yeah, i think you're right. *Puts sonic umbrella between her teeth and climbs the ladder.*
Master( straps in beside Nardole): The Doctor's dead, he told me he'd always hated you. Let's go.
Nardole: (looks fed up) No!
Missy( enters craft) The Doctor's dead, he told me he'd always hated you-
Nardole: Yeah, i heard you the first time!
Master( grabs shuttle controls): Look, we need to get away from here, find a hole in the roof- or make one. Is there a big gun on the front of this? That would be good-
*The whole craft suddenly jolts. Nardole looks out.*
Nardole: I don't think we're going anywhere!
* CyberBill is holding on to the craft's ladder, preventing it from going anywhere without the Doctor.*
Doctor( stirs weakly at sound and sees her): Bill. I will fix this, i swear...
"Two weeks later"( more improbable time spans...), nursemaid Hazran and a little girl, Alit, are helping Nardole prepare the survivors to fight off the regrouping Cybermen- whilst Bill wakes up in a barn, back to her human self. Via some clever mirrors-and-shadows direction, the injured Doctor points out to Bill that she actually still a Cyberman, but is hallucinating that she is still herself; and is also inexplicably unable to feel the pain of conversion and still sheds real tears. Meanwhile, the Master and Missy are busy looking for a way to escape- and the Doctor is distracted by his impending regeneration, caused by the electrocution and held off and hidden by him.
Me: Ok, so even if CyberBill's emotional inhibitor was turned off or faulty, she would still feel pain and have no eyes left to cry tears with- what's going on? And why does Alit A.get to hang round where there's danger and B.look like a young Bill? And "Hey, you used to be a woman. I'm going to be one, any tips?"- LOL! I've missed you Master, you jerk with your stupid grin and your stupid sense of humor! Remind him women get the period Bill, at least you don't get it anymore- Doctor?! You're hand just glowed-OH CRAP! Oh, no... Missy and Bill both tried to save you, but too late. Oh, this is just like you, in denial and refusing to change or have the others know about it...makes the whole "two weeks" thing even stupider though, you could never hold it off that long. Two weeks, ten years, thousands of years, hundreds of miles- why does everything have to be just over-the-top enough to be unbelievable? (N.B. The Doctor not only manages to perfectly hide and hold off his regeneration for another couple of days, but then gets shot twice and STILL keeps moving and talking. Come on!) Seeing the Doctor, The Master and Missy all pointing their sonic screwdrivers/ lasers/ umbrellas alongside Bill the living weapon is awesome though! "The future is all girl"- why would the Doctor say that? Hmm...
As the Master and Missy attempt to sneak off to the Master's TARDIS and escape, Missy is tempted to stay alongside the Doctor. Meanwhile, CyberBill doesn't want to live as a Cyberman and Nardole impresses Hazran with his discovery of a way to fight the Cybermen...
Me: "Oh, i was hoping someone would be pessimistic; for a moment, there i was feeling a glimmer of purpose", ha- Nardole's sense of humor and practicality are coming in useful! This whole "blowing up fuel lines in the floor" thing is stupid though; A. Any explosion would surely risk setting the rest of the fuel alight and killing everyone, B. That's a stupid design for a advanced futuristic spaceship, and C. They've already shown that the Mondasian Cybermen's exposed chest units are vulnerable to screwdrivers AND guns, so it seems like including impractical explosions and modern Cybermen that distract from the Mondasian was just for extra action value. And that's not even the stupidest part; Time Lords have always forgotten encounters with their past/future selves so as to avoid "don't you remember what happens next?" plot holes. But here, Missy both forgets meeting herself as the Master as expected AND can conveniently remember doing so when she needs to? You can't have your cake and eat it! And as for the bit where they send out "mini-Bill" Alit with AN APPLE against a whole Legion of Cybermen... ooh. Oh, the Doctor thinks another speech will work on the Master of all people? "See this face? Take a long, good look at it. This is the face that didn't listen to a word you just said." ...LOL! How else would the Master respond? What use would a "be kind even though you'll probably die" speech be on him? And the way he glared a little when he said "take a look" like he was annoyed the Doctor didn't know him well enough to understand his response- i wondered what the Master's reaction to Capaldi would be, especially since he ended up siding with Tennant's Doctor, and it doesn't seem to be good. And that grin as he left, LOL! I'm sorry for Capaldi's Doctor, he finally tries to be nicer and less jaded and this is what he gets, but his old "I'm an idiot, yay!" line was just too apt. At least Missy considered his point; the way she took HIS hand and looked HIM in the eye to say goodbye was a nice reversal of earlier, and the acting here is great; her shaky but knowing look, the way the only part of the Doctor's speech the Master blinked at was "How will you die? Have you thought about that?"- subtle but effective.
The Cybermen are coming; the Doctor and CyberBill say goodbye to each other in case they don't make it, Nardole says goodbye to them before heading for a lift to the next floor to help protect the women and children, and Missy and the Master embrace as they head for his TARDIS.
Me: Oh, these character arcs... this is a good sendoff for Nardole, doing one last favor for his new friend and the man who saved him so long ago by saving himself and the others, and lines like "I'm going to name a town after you. A really rubbish one" and "I never will be able to find the words" sum up his honest attitude perfectly. As for Bill- she's coping about as well with being "zombified" as expected, all "I don't want to live" and "To kick my arse you'll have to go to the bins and find it", but she still helps the friends who got her into this situation. Oh, and her "You know how i normally like women, and people my own age?" is both her awkward and jokey way of telling the Doctor she cares about him and one last prank from Moffat making us think we've got yet another "Doctor romance" on our hands, LOL! Oh, that simple line of the Doctor's "Without hope, without witness, without reward" is more effective than any long speech. And this truce between the two Masters- the Master's amused and almost concerned expression, the haunting music, Missy's opinion of her previous self "I loved being you"... just brilliant! You'd think they had worked together for years...
Then Missy stabs the Master.
Me: Yep Master, that was "nicely done"...wait, is that blood? She- ***K! SHE...STABBED HIM?! Oh! So when she held the Doctor's hand stiffly earlier, she was showing him the knife up her sleeve! So the Master's death is caused by his future self, to both aid the Doctor and hasten his future self's creation? That is both an act of loyalty to the only true friend the Master has ever had AND a selfish, ruthless move- just right! Ha, the Master is so angry and confused... so this is it? Missy is admitting to caring about the Doctor and quite literally leaving her previous attitude behind? Yeah she's no angel and never will be, she's the Master, but this is a great moment in the Master's character arc!
Then the Master lasers Missy in the back.
Me: !?!?!?!?!!!!!!! NO! ...And now they're laughing deliriously at the irony of it, his refusal to let his future self become the Doctor's friend again-HAHAHAHA! She should've remembered his screwdriver was laser, but her memories are messed up around her other self and i temporarily forgot too, nobody's perfect- he shouldn't have risked botching his regeneration cycle, but the overpowered laser was all he had and his plans and the Time Lords have brought him back before. And he collapses into the lift, laughing as he escapes to his TARDIS... what a simple yet perfect end to the Simm Master! Oh no, Missy don't die! She couldn't even speak, i guess being lasered is worse than stabbed, that "lit-up skeleton" shot was abrupt and brutal! Oh, that final glass-eyed "broken doll" shot and music... GAH! She'll have to regenerate after a delay like a previous Doctor did, but if this was the end it would be a brilliant and surprisingly tragic end to the Doctor's rival! And he doesn't even know what happened, damn! Sure i knew both Masters were leaving, but we never even got a regeneration scene upon the Master's previous exit so who knew what would happen this time. And Missy's exit was great too! I'm both happy and sad now...
As CyberBill stops any Cybermen sneaking behind the house and following the survivors and Nardole into the lifts, the dying and dissuaded Doctor succumbs to his injuries- and chooses to chain-reaction explode the Cybermen, destroying the threat at the cost of ending his own messed-up and too-long life. As somewhere the Master and Missy lay dying, the zombified Bill cries over the Doctor's actually-dead body...
Me: The Doctor is fighting the Cybermen and... again, only now do i finally accept 12 as the Doctor! This is so wonderful- no, leave him alone! "Doctors are not required", lol... "let it go", oh no not that lol! "Time enough, Doctor"..? Wh-NO! .....He's had enough, like 11 and 9 coming to terms with their death and 10 not wanting to change again( tries to ignore obvious "all the massive trees and metal Cybermen were incinerated by the fuel lines as i predicted but the Doctor JUST GOT A BIT OF SMOKE ON HIM. HOW? Ok, just pretend it was only a series of Cyber-explosions like you wanted earlier...). He's... Oh no, Doctor! Oh, Bill! Yeah, you were ages away on the other side of the house- oh, no. *Goes quiet as zombified CyberBill cries over the Doctor's corpse* ...So he's really not regenerating, he's actually willingly died as they've shown Time Lords can do before, Missy and the Master are dead and Bill is dead as a human and trapped on a spaceship ages away from the TARDIS or Earth? ...Damn, right now i have no idea how the show will progress and the end of a great series is only minutes away! This is an horrible yet awesome moment...
Then Heather- the engine-water ghost of Bill's girlfriend from "The Pilot"- appears.
Me: What, there's a puddle- HEATHER? Hang on, yeah she was able to follow the TARDIS... Bill looks-WAIT. There's a Cyberman behind- no, that's her Cyber-body falling to the floor! WAIT! And if- "Am i dead?"- ha, yeah Bill i think you are..? Oh Heather kissed her, aww! "Does that feel dead to you?"-Ha, and she looks nervous but happy and Bill looks happy but confused, i probably do too right now- wait Bill is DRIPPING LIKE HEATHER. "You're like me now" and a flashback to "The Pilot"- Bill got infected when she touched her! It's like the original sentient water in "The Waters Of Mars", you so much as touch it and you're infected! So it drowned Heather and she became a watery "ghost" of sorts; she could follow the TARDIS and get answers but it probably took a while to get from the TARDIS at the main deck to here because of the whole "time differential". And then she finds Bill stuck as a Cyberman and with the Doctor dead, and living painlessly as a watery-ghost "Pilot" is better than in pain as a "bio-mechanical zombie" Cyberman! I should've realized at the time, or earlier! Oh, and that shot of Bill turning to see her Cyber-body collapse beside the Doctor's was surreal! Wait... oh, they're...oh. So they've put the Doctor's body in the TARDIS- "This is the only place he could rest in peace, if he could do that"- aww, exactly Bill, but there might be a way for him to regenerate! Damn, i don't think you know about regeneration... so what will Bill do now? Ok, she could stay with Heather- ...sigh. Did you just suggest it would be possible to rearrange atoms and become human again? I know the writers like to leave the door open, but this is a brilliant exit for Bill! She turns into a Cyberman, then a water-ghost, and is dead as a human and DOES NOT JUST TURN BACK INTO A HUMAN AS THOUGH NOTHING HAPPENED. Look at Clara(s9 spoilers)- she didn't even exist as a "zombie" Cyberman but simply died, aged only twenty-something; and then they decided to "leave the door open" by simply going back to when she died and literally pulling her away at the last second. As if that wasn't bad enough, they then gave her a TARDIS of her own and said that she was "frozen between heartbeats" and couldn't age! They basically made her IMMORTAL, with the only condition being that she could only die by going back to where she originally died! From "died at age twenty-something" to "died at age who-knows-what after going travelling whilst being immune to any kind of death"- not again! Oh, Bill's choosing to stay a water-ghost; good, at least this time there was just an ignorable "be human again" option instead of a definite "not only alive but immortal" outcome. Phew!
Oh, no- "I can't believe you're really dead, old man"- oh, poor Bill. Aww, she kissed him goodbye- wait. She's crying and one of her tears just fell on him... no don't wipe it off Bill! Oh phew she didn't- "Where there's tears there's hope"- oh! That's what the Doctor said earlier trying to distract her from her Cyber-body fate; she's realized her tear might revive him! But nothing's happening and it might not, she doesn't know. Oh... she's decided to leave with Heather. Yeah, good for her; it seems like the Doctor is dead anyway and she would choose being a "ghost" with Heather like she chose to go TARDIS travelling before. "I've travelled a lot since we last met, so i'll show you around"- ha, exactly Bill! Oh, and this subtle music... oh, wow! Wait... and they just jumped out of the TARDIS into space... that's beautiful! Certainly not possible when she was alive, but now that they're ghosts... just simple and optimistic, like when she ran into the TARDIS. What a lovely and bittersweet ending! Goodbye, Bill! And Heather! Oh, please don't mess it up and bring her back writers...(SPOILERS- upon seeing Xmas special trailer, Me: Oh no. DAMNIT! Oh well, i'll just pretend this era ended with the finale- i'm not letting that brilliant ending get spoiled!) So that's it. The Doctor all alone in the TARDIS, floating in space... like a sea burial, appropriate really. Wait...the tear is glowing, it worked! But he's not stirring, will he just regenerate without reviving like some previous Doctors and not get any more moments as him? Poor 12... oh, a flashback of Bill and Nardole! He doesn't know what's happened to them... AAH! A flashback of all the modern companions he's had! Aww... ha, if they had all the old-series ones too it'd take till the Xmas special! I'll assume he resists remembering all the ones before and during the Time War, that would explain it. They never mention the Movie-with-8 companions, i liked them! Rose, Martha, Donna, Jack- ha, from when the Master first returned in the modern series- Amy, Vastra, Jenny, Clara and River! And Clara, even though the Doctor's memory got messed up in the same ep as the "immortal" thing! Ha, i hope that this impossible contradiction means the other stuff in the ep doesn't count either- and it's lovely to see you again, Clara! But why wasn't Mickey, Rory or Strax there (N.B. only the companions that might've fancied the Doctor were shown! Is this Moffat's subtlest ever joke?)? Lovely how they were all calling "Doctor!"...and the TARDIS is stirring- Missy! *Doctor wakes* Your glimpse woke him up and you were counted alongside the Doctor's companions, even though he doesn't know you were going to help him? Aww... and having Missy, Bill and Nardole all counted in the flashbacks when they were all still around just last episode is sad. And 12 gets to be alive for one last moment! No, wait... oh no, he's getting regeneration trauma- he doesn't know who he is (and this doubles as a way to re-speak the last lines of previous Doctors. Knowing that hearing lines like "I don't want to go" will re-break people's hearts. MOFFAT!)! Oh, he's not happy, he was ready to die and now he's awake to suffer death again and change for the first time since the whole "The Time Of The Doctor" episode. Ha, what if he did just stay wherever the TARDIS has landed and finally rest in peace? And he exits the TARDIS... oh, no, the cloister bell is ringing! So 12 just left the TARDIS for the final time, aww. Oh god, he can't hold it back- he's regenerating! This... in a way, this is just as effective as the earlier moment with him and the Masters dead and CyberBill crying. What an ending, both for the finale and 12!
Wait... oh, he's trying to hold it back and just die, poor 12! Wh-wait. Wait. Who... where is... oh my god. The TARDIS has also recalled his previous incarnations- and landed next to the First Doctor! Ha, even then he didn't want to change much- and that's it. So the Xmas special will feature the First Doctor? For the first time in new Who we get an old Doctor...awesome! Yeah it's the new First Doctor actor instead of the original William Hartnell, but since the original is gone and this is preferable to getting someone completely new it might be worth it. And 12 gets one more episode... (N.B. Now knowing what happens to him in the Xmas special, i may end up pretending things ended with the finale. And i and other people were pretty happy with this ending for 12 too...)
Overall, "World Enough And Time/ The Doctor Falls" is a great and surprisingly neat finale to a lovely swansong series for the 12th Doctor. The direction and visuals are detailed and atmospheric and the music memorable and evocative( this is all just my opinion, but even now i'm still humming the tunes like i have with some older ones for years). The plot combines a classic and still-effective monster and ambitious yet understandable setting to good and Moffat-esque effect( yep i just made that up, seriously Moffat deserves his own description for his genius work). However, a few glaring plot holes and stupid lines hold back perfection( and i don't even believe in perfection mostly). And the cast does great- Peter Capaldi, Michelle Gomez and John Simm in particular are so exactly right at acting every moment, speaking every line( not counting a couple of bad ones) and timing every movement that i myself "can't find the words". And this works in conjunction with their exits- so well chosen that if the show suddenly ended i would be quite happy with them as the permanent ends for the characters and show.
My biggest complaint is a pretty personal one- i am CONFUSED(.com). I've gone from "This is a great show!" in the Eccleston and Tennant eras, to "This is great... but has ended up so stupid and vague i've stopped watching" in the Smith and Hurt eras. And now it's "This is better but the 12th Doctor, Missy and every second/third episode is INFURIATING although the new Doctor and new Missy actors are pretty great and oh no it's getting stupid and even duller i've stopped watching again and oh apparently Clara is finally leaving good although she is awesome and hey her exit was lovely maybe i'll start watching again oh no it was another trick DAMNIT never mind huh new companion eh whatever WHAT THE **** BOTH THIS NEW SERIES AND THE CHARACTERS ARE GREAT WAHOO i still might prefer the Tennant era though WAIT I PREFER THESE CHARACTERS EVEN THOUGH I DISLIKED THIS ERA BEFORE AND STILL DO #confused at least this is a BRILLIANT ending for them all ooh 13th Doctor and Xmas special announcements YAY i don't mind too much what happens now i'm just relieved that Capaldi's era and 12 had this high point ***K ACTUALLY MAYBE I DO CARE WHAT HAPPENS OH NO NOW THAT GREAT FINALE HAS BEEN MESSED WITH WHYY it was still a great ending though GAH I'M CONFUSED AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FANS ARE ARGUING and i don't even hate the female Doctor idea BANG. *fuel lined Cybermen floor explodes*
7.8/10, too many speeches.
Only kidding, 9/10; too many announcements.
And to Steven Moffat- thank you so much for everything. One thing i can say for sure is that Doctor Who has never and probably will never again be this entertaining.
tWICE UPON A TIME XMAS & NEW YEAR, NEW REGENERATION...
Happy New Year, everybody! So here's my take on Twice Upon A Time;
+Peter Capaldi's acting
+Rachel Talalay's direction
+the regeneration into Jodie Whittaker, direction/music/pacing all perfect
+the cameo from Capaldi's long-time companion Jenna Coleman
+the 'Christmas Armistice with the Brigadier's grandfather' scene
+the reuse of a couple of classic tunes helps tie the episode to prior ones
-which makes the lack of popular new tunes even more obvious
-more dragged out dialogue and plotting, this regeneration took over TWO WEEKS AND MULTIPLE SPEECHES
-the 'testimony' plot allows any character to come back from multiple deaths as a 'glass memory'(?) as a walking/talking/physical/'I am me' presence at any time in any place. Multiple complaints of fake deaths and too many immortal characters and repeated undone exits followed by this?
-The 1st Doctor's altered characterisation as a naive sexist and multiple clashes with other characters and future events with no fixit
-13's first words 'Oh Brilliant' and smiling within 4 seconds of seeing her blurry reflection? Amount of times the Doctor hasn't been ill/frantic/checked their new body in curiosity and worry after regenerating: NONE.
-Complete underuse of the 1st Doctor's abilities and companions and alteration of the original lines/scenes
-The plot; two Doctors and some 'dead' characters in a couple of sparse spaceships arguing identity politics for 50 minutes. Oh and there's snow.
Overall it was watchable, but i might as well have just tuned in for the last five minutes. Impressions of 13/Jodie from the trailers/pictures/brief scene; literally NO expression or action recognisable as the Doctor's, but she seems nice and is played by an experienced actress so i hope i'll like her as a separate character. Between this and the handling of the scene (new writer usually handles a new Doctor) i'm really hopeful for Series 11 and in a way relieved that the previous era with all it's controversy is done.
I already stopped watching twice before; from the end of Series 6 then back for Smith's regeneration and from post-Series 8 to pre-Series 10. Since this resulted in my missing Capaldi's appointment, and the prior Tennant-Smith and Moffat regeneration was what got my attention in the first place, i swore PRIOR to Whittaker's appointment and the rest that i would watch the entire next era from appointment to exit regeneration no matter what and i can't wait to do so(and yes, i know i jinxed it!). And if it turns out badly, there's always the unstoppable Doctor Who fanbase to turn to; seems these days like you can't have an opinion online on anything without being analysed,dismissed and ordered/insulted away, but i hope EVERYONE- those just watching the previous series, those just watching the new series and those watching both- stays commenting and contributing to this new era and comparing it to and remembering all that has come before...
A NEW ERA OF DOCTOR WHO IS NEARLY HERE!!!
Happy holidays, everyone! In the last month or so several sightings and hints about Series 11 have surfaced, and so i've attempted to compile EVERYTHING here in one place for your convienience. As for my opinion on what we've learnt so far, has it changed? A little, as my hope for the new episodes/ cast/composer/effects/logo/tune/tardis/sonic/crew to succeed and Doctor Who to be unmissable again is battling my apparently endless run of being uninterested by somehow every announcement/ image etc so far; but until i see some of the new episodes for myself, the only thing i can say for sure is that the marketing campaign- interviews, clips, information- has been quite likely the worst in Who's entire history(bear in mind i've only been around for the past 10 years of it, i never saw the handling of and reaction to Who's original decline and cancellation) and has already driven so many away for a good year now. So, lets see if we can fix that...
Doctor Who Series 11 Rumors, Leaks and Announcements;
.Bradley Walsh, who was in Hotel with Peter Capaldi and Paul Mcgann, plays a human white man companion called Graham(ok, cool)
.Sharon D Clarke plays his human wife(ok, hope she's not another bossy 'grounded' female relative)
.Mandip Gill plays a black girl companion called PC Yasmin Khan(ok)
.Toisin Cole plays a black boy companion called Ryan Sinclair(eh)
.The white woman 13th Doctor meets Yasmin and Ryan at a nightime crime scene(ok, cool)
.Alan Cumming will guest star as King James I(ok, cool!)
.Julie Hesmondhalgh, who was in Broadchurch with Jodie Whittaker, will guest star(eh)
.Lee Mack will guest star(ok, cool)
.Shaun Dooley will guest star(ok, cool)
.Mark Addy will guest star(eh)
.The Tardis crew will visit the 1955 Rosa Parks Montgomery Bus Boycott(history is cool but this sounds like a preachy limited setting)
.There will be no Daleks or cliffhangers in Doctor Who Series 11(ok and GAH!!!!)
.There will be 10 50-minute episodes not 12/13/14 42-50 minute ones(GAH!!!!!!!!)
.There will be a new, silver and peach bigger bent sonic screwdriver(it really looks like that?!)
.Everything's new- cast, main writers, tardis, sonic, logo, composer, monsters...(AWESOME!)
.(20thAug,leaked TARDIS!..cramped-for-4+camera,'70's bathroom tile, rusty car part walls, duct tape columns and copper plumbing?!)
.(10thSep,new teaser; no new footage whatsoever, no new monsters etc, no lines/hints, no new music, unfitting bleh rap music, literally nothing happens but Doc 13 Jodie breaks a glass ceiling(really? We're going for the 'breaking the glass ceiling' metaphor now? And saying 'It's about time?'? Just more topical/social stuff instead of, say, getting us excited for the new series of Doctor Who episodes in any way?) for no reason and shrugs 'whoops'. Literally ALL the previous teasers/trailers/promos beat this- the cafe one, the 2005 TARDIS fades one, the S6 America one...
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11- the OFFICIAL TRAILer breakdown!
DOCTOR WHO IS BACK IN TWO WEEKS!!! And EVERYTHING's new! But for many the show has gone horribly wrong and is already over; for others it all hinges on the month of October. And for some, it hinges on the past several months worth of revelations as to whether they'll stick with it- culminating in the release of the official trailer and it's sumarization of Series 11. For me i was always going to watch no matter what the new era held, but can the Series 11 trailer change that? And can it live up to the previous series's trailers? It's finally time to find out, frame by frame...
(all images property of the BBC, logo in the top left hand corner)
Names/Keywords said to feature in Series 11; 'Epzo, a life changing bike ride, Ux, Umbreen, Rosa, Kandoka's moon and Ribbons.'
Pic 1; a spaceship teleports in, reminding me of Star Trek. But i don't want Doctor Who to be Star Trek! Typical exciting orchestral 'action' music begins to build.
Pic 2; 13 and Graham play Microsoft Paint-ball with some enemies. Can't even tell if they're human or alien...
Pic 3; Who says a female Doctor can't change a lightbulb? This TARDIS-blue electrocution does!
Pic 4; Project Runway's Steampunk Week was off to an interesting start...
Pic 5; 13 imitates that one Ring-catching scene from Lord Of The Rings(no plans to review that franchise, sorry). Or the finger-snapping from the first Night At The Museum(maybe a review of the trilogy once Primeval and Who are finished? It's one of my favourite films/film series so i know enough/have enough pics to do it! Not sure anyone's covered all three plus any info from other sources like the videogames yet...). Anyway, i like the use of different camera angles nonetheless, and the crescendo of the music here works too.
Pics 6 and 7; some RTD 2005-2009 style space screensavers, prefer this type of effects to the 2010-2013 more garish/cluttered ones or the 2014-2016 ones i can't even remember. Nice 'awe-inspiring'-type music here. A planet with two moons and two suns-any guesses, Who experts?
Pics 8 and 9; 'Captain, we appear to have landed in an Earth quarry. Again. And we may have squashed three life forms upon impact..?'. This is followed by a repeat of the Caves Of Androzani, look there's the classic image of the blonde Doctor(Blontor?) Peter Davidson running through the dusty landscape! Ha ha, he runs like a girl...oh, wait.
Pics 10 and 11; Is there such a thing as a 'sonicing' face? 'Cause if so i'm not sure about 13's, it's just not very dramatic. Also not sure it'll work seeing as they're in a WOOD cabin...that looks a bit alien with the triangle doorway. DI they run out of alien materials and just start using trees instead? I though we already had the pro-eco/treehugging episode with In The Forest Of The Night. Oh, and the guy(?) in the back in the white top and jacket doesn't look like Graham. OH, and a nice catchy beat begins here! I heard some people didn't like the music, but this seems good...
Pics 12 and 13; Uh oh, angry Northerner wielding a hammer and pliers! In all seriousness though... ''I'm the Doctor. When people need help, i never refuse' is literally the first Doctory thing i've seen Jodie Whittaker do(i loved the regeneration scene, but 'aw, brilliant'? 5 SECONDS after seeing what had happened to him/her?). Still not certain 'strong will/temper' isn't at the bottom of the 'Doctory traits Jodie Whittaker can pull off' list, but this looks promising...
Pic 14; QOTD; what would you do if you went into your gender's typical public restroom and found a quirkily-dressed same-gender individual claiming both their looks and gender were new to them? If the answer is 'stay there and watch as they pull a funny face at the mirror', then congrats! You've officially passed the Doctor's 'would get in a cramped antique box with a possibly inhuman, probably mad UFO-chasing stranger' test. Still, at least 13 remembered which toilet to go into! And is it me or did Doctor 10 pull that face once?
Pics 15 to 19; bystander 'Why are you asking her(13) what to do? Who says she's in charge?'. Companions(in unison)'Says us!' I like how 13 looks furtive and wary, but does she really need a cheesy cheerleading squad? The Doctor never needed one before-*remembers Midnight*-mostly never needed one before-*remembers Clara's Series 7-9 interfering*-never needed one in the old series- *remembers all the Gallifrey-based old episodes*-I JUST DON'T WANT YET MORE 'AM I A GOOD DOCTOR?' DAMMIT. Mmm, 13 still wins in the 'angry face' department though, Graham's looks like he's got something in his teeth.
Also, three more extras spotted here- we hear a male one, and beside Graham you can briefly glimpse a tanned female with glasses and a tanned messy-haired female, neither of whom appear to be Yasmin or Sharon D Clarke.
Pics 20 to 24; 'Lets get a shift on'... nah. Not even with the hair flopping about like 11's does that line quite work. Also, the endless expensive locations/HD angles is actually getting a bit distracting? It's just a bit too grand for what's going on and less recognisable as Who over any higher-budget tv gig, plus that beachside ruin looks like Lego or something-oh, no. No. The rap is back! Or the rap is crap, as i now understand people's complaints about the soundtrack. All the earlier music was good though...oh well, maybe someone'll just cut out these two clips in a fan edit (hint, hint).
Pics 25 to 28; yay, it's the classic 'base/spaceship under siege' episode!! And the glimpsed crew member here is winning in the 'angry face' competition. Like how 13 leaves the ominously empty co-pilot's chair ominously empty too. Nice near-headshot on 13 too, still prefer the 'dart nearly headshots Cutter' clip in Primeval 3x1 tho.
Pics 29 to 34; Ah, turns out it was just 13 and companions playing Microsoft Paint-ball; Sonic edition. Neat implied progression here- Graham sets something off with his sonic, Yasmin(?) runs away from a recently set-off explosion with her sonic, Ryan(?) shoots his sonic mid-run across the building and 13 ducks as a shot hits the wall. Only problems are A.Graham's pulling another silly face and B.All this blasting and running is getting just as repetitive as the HD big spaces. It's all so straightforward and serious- where's the colour and fun?
Pics 37 to 39; 'You know i had to sit down and blast things remotely earlier Ryan, my back and wrists just aren't what they used to be so i guess you'll have to unlock the suspicious cupboard(and later bend under the suspicious bed) for me Ryan'. Then how are you going for all these long walks then, eh Graham? I like Ryan's apparent helpful attitude so far though; with Graham having the novelty/rare older companion factor and Yasmin the favoured 'youngish modern prettyish female' position, i was worried the 'youngish danger-facing/fearing male' role would get sidelined yet again.
Pics 40 to 43;
Ugh, yet more repetitive staged-looking 'group walks/stands- OOH, is that a historical episode with the older-fashioned people and car? Maybe the rumored Rosa Parks episode? And yet more signs of actual acting- Yasmin looks to be enjoying herself/awestruck and is looking from side to side, Ryan looks wary/sulky and is just walking straight ahead, Graham looks scared/disbelieving and is trying to keep up with 13 and 13 is busy as usual thinking and checking everything out like it's totally normal. And as for the music change here...i quite like i-AAH!*youtube/twitter commenters throw tomatoes*sigh. Really, the 'I feel glorious, glorious, got a chance, to start again' song here is timed perfectly to the clips and the hopeful and later more dramatic 'made it through the darkest part' all fits nicely and is memorable/hummable(believe me that's how i test all tunes...)! And yes the 'feel glorious, dark is over' part could be construed as 'this is better than previous doctors', but also as '12's self-doubt/time war and Gallifrey and Masters and the Claras stuff is over' which many fans have endlessly objected to and stopped watching over...
Pics 44 to 48; 'I'm just a traveller' yes, exactly!! Oh and nice visuals here with 12's ruined outfit and the lovely sky/ordinary Earth city view behind. Ooh, the following shot has multiple extras visible and a new location! Also, nice that they're all paying attention to 13 as with previous Doctors/episodes rather than advertising and camera angles needing to tell us to do so. Question though; is the guy on the far left lying/sitting the 'pregnant male' that was announced? Because if so, having a controversial topic like that in an already controversial pre-viewing family/kids primetime show is likely gonna go down about as well as 'don't cremate me'. I know the 'sci-fi/fantasy and 'we have to be culturally/politically relevant/up-to-date' excuses will be used, but you can do both of those things without reenacting the Colin Baker 'acid bath' scene! And the timing of the otherwise nice 'i was born for this, born for this' line doesn't help ; )
Pics 49 to 55; 'Sometimes i see things that need fixing; i do what i can' more Doctory lines! This one particularly so because of the ambiguity of 'things'- another 'time lord victorious' job? And we see the glasses female from earlier possibly identified, maybe a more relevant character judging by the camera angle and 'something important is being soniced' feel. Yet again 13's expession reminds me of 10? Oh, lovely 'escalating piano' tune here as we see the companions and the running 13 silhouetted neatly against flashing lights and nightime shadows. Still don't know what that thing on the side of Graham's head is, but it appears at night and a daytime quarry.
Pics 56 to 67; 'i made it through the darkest part of night, and now i get to see the sun rise' works well, as does the slightly faster/more exciting tone with the action clips. More enemies-meet the big black swirlies and the giant tarantulas! Neither are especially alien or interesting visually though, hopefully there'll be some more distinctive enemies. But 'something under the bed' was already a Moffat thing and 'everyday fears like spiders' is too- are we sure he isn't behind any of this?! Turns out the blue electrical cousin of Fear Hre's scribble omnster is a thing too. And why was a clip of Yasmin Bend It Like Beckham-kicking what appears to be 13's clothes(greyish cloth with a colourful stripe) chosen as a dramatic inclusion?
Pics 68 to last; Oh crap, 13 is looking down at something upset. And there's no one to help. And she has to leave for some reason. And whatever is is is probably good in some way judging by her tearful smile/blown kiss tribute-esque gesture. I want to know what this plot twist is, but also not because without the potentially damaging context to distract and the undistracting blank enviroment Jodie's acting is front and centre here-and yet again it looks good! And that's even if the context and accompanying soundtrack end up ruining the moment...last of all, the ending 'it's about time'/ release date and tune trumpet finish the trailer ok despite the reused tagline-what happened to the less controversial 'the universe is calling'? Apparently 'it's about time' was once used before for Who though no problem.
So, that's the Doctor Who Series 11 trailer. It's taken a year and we're now less than two weeks away from Episode 1 so i'm avoiding any spoilers from here on in- but for the first time i've actually seen something i like. 13's lines are good, Jodie Whittaker's acting looks promising and varied, Ryan looks like a decent new younger male companion, the direction and editing of the clips and trailer is great and some of the music and graphics are memorable. Everything else still looks dull and repetitive, but at least i now have actual evidence rather than just hope that watching will be worth it. I'll be reviewing every episode here though, so if i'm wrong in my newfound optimism you'll all know... : o
Finally, here's some more promo shots and artwork. I was lucky enough to get my local's last copy of Doctor Who Magazine Deluxe Edition, and however the series turns out i'm glad to have collected some of the artwork and posters! The art cards(last 4 pics) are particularly neat- the companions's art looks fun and accurate and 13's expression is more confident and arrogant like many previous Doctors have been. With any luck the series will have humor and more colour like the artwork...
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 1!!! 'THE
WOMAN WHO FELL TO EARTH' REVIEW
We know what new showrunner Chris Chibnall's Doctor Who is like. We know what the Thirteenth Doctor is like. We know what the new companions are like. We know what the new theme tune is like. WE FINALLY KNOW!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So is it any good?
Let's find out.
*The episode starts with a dark screen that then switches to an image, as a voiceover is revealed to be a young guy-Ryan Sinclair(Tosin Cole)- talking in a Youtube vlog about 'an amazing woman' he knew. We then switch to the events he is recounting.*
Me; Not sure about the opening Youtube segment; it's just not very Doctor Who at all, and suggests that in-universe the world would A. care about some random boy's story and B. find out his connection to the Doctor/alien events etc(a Series 1 character recorded some of their experiences with the Doctor and nearly did this). Plus, it means we get no opening titles for this landmark episode, although perhaps they're hoping people will also tune into Episode 2 to see those revealed live and seeing both eps will get them hooked.
Ah, so Grace(Sharon D Clarke) is Ryan's nan and Graham O'Brien(Bradley Walsh) his step-grandad? That's nice, a type of family we haven't had before and explains the character's relationship to each other. Like the way this is written/presented so far too; no music, lovely but not farfetched visuals, and a straightforward scenario with Ryan's grandparents trying to help him learn to ride a bike despite his Dyspraxia(a condition that effects balance and co-ordination, varying severity). And Ryan is too old/distant to call Graham 'Grandad'-any conflict/awkwardness could play interestingly into their being co-companions.
The following scenes-Ryan gets mad at his repeated failure and THROWS HIS BIKE OFF A CLIFF, isn't told off or to later pay for it whilst they just watch him throw it, then they all go to sit ON THE VERY EDGE OF THE CLIFF DESPITE 2 BEING OLD/UNFIT AND 1 WITH A BALANCE DISORDER- are a disbelievable and awkward way to get Ryan on his own retrieving the bike. And between this and the Youtube bit all with no music or alieness/eccentricity whatsoever, not very Who at all.
*So the grandparents get their evening train back home and leave Ryan to get his bike. But whilst looking for it in the trees below the cliffs/hills, he gets a surprise...*
Me; How's he gonna get home/to a work shift carrying the unrideable bike? They say later he's a warehouse worker and those places are often on town outskirts, so i guess he either walks to a possible shift or catches his own train. Lol his bike's up a tree! These look like the woods where we first saw 13, cool-*a gold hovering diamond shape with a button appears*-ah crap, he got something alien's attention. Welcome to Doctor Who! Nice effects and sound, but Ryan's non-reaction and immediate button-pressing and police-calling is more disbelief. And how does the resultant appearing 'giant blue poo' spacepod resemble the gold thing? Why would you immediately press something crackling with energy likely to electrocute you? His choice i suppose. And music time...mmm, very subtle humming then 'everyday' riff, almost unnoticeable. What's the point of it? The non-music bits are more eerily-real effective, aside from Who not usually ever being known for subtle, down to earth soundtracks.
*cut to a police officer, Yasmin Khan(Mandip Gill), getting the call and going to the woods to deal with Ryan's reported 'thing'...*
Me;*Yasmin walks into a call about two arguing women, assesses the situation professionally and reports back to her superior*Oh, hello Clara the 2nd(previous companion Jenna Louise Coleman). I always really liked your practical, impatient, daring attitude, good to have you back! Great companion introduction too, moreso than Ryan's vlog talking about another character. Wonder if the attitude many fans found annoying/unbelievable will be more popular with a more believable 'trainee police officer' persona instead of Clara's confusing 'reincarnations' storyline? But so far we're 3/4 for 'adventurous/bored with life' characters- Ryan's self-ambition/frustration, Grace's encouragement/ enthusiasm and Yasmin's 'give me a more interesting callout, i can do a challenge'- guess the doc's gonna get particularly lucky finding companions this time.
Still, i reckon they could've got away with it minus the old 'young clever/imaginative female' cliche they've been using since 2005. Lol the cut to Yasmin seeing the spacepod! Her colleague probably thinks having to deal with an unglamorous 'removal of dumped item' will curb her ambitious asking for more work. Oh, Yasmin and Ryan recognise each other as old schoolmates! Love this- learning about them via their 'How've you been?', went to primary together, Yas's 'it's me' and recognition possibly suggest an old friendship, Ryan wants to be a mechanic, Yas has been a trainee cop for over a year and lol Ryan calling her a 'Fed'(federal), first funny line! So far the characterisation isn't even good but excellent, just not enough Who/alien/entertaining stuff yet but as a different show i could definitely watch this.
*meanwhile, Graham and Grace's train home meets with disaster...*
Me; The direction so far is just functional though, clear to understand and realistic but forgettable. Yas realises the spacepod is too heavy/freezing-cold-to-touch to be a prank of Ryan's, good. Lol Grace flirting and Graham embarressed in front of the other carriage passenger- this is no Moffat- esque over the top dialogue or acting, they just come across as a plausible and likeable couple! And we've only known them a few minutes, some tv romances never work. Graham is sensible, quiet, well-meaning, makes the decisions and has no interest in any eccentricity- i don't see Bradley Walsh, just an ordinary bloke and rather unlikely companion. Grace is enthusiastic and curious, but also caring (a nurse)and not exaggerated- another 'feisty female' done in a normal and not annoying/distracting way like Yas.
Uh oh-something electrical and alien has crashed through the train window, scaring the other passengers into getting off and damaging the train locking the couple and the other young guy passenger inside! Grace calls Ryan and he has a police officer with car already, but it doesn't feel planned. Ah, almost missed it over the monster's noise but some tension/spooky music has appeared, it's not bad. I notice Graham is looking to do something, but not just scared/useless/comedic, good. Great setup, spooky dark/nighttime locale and the 'electrical wire ball' monster from the trailer advancing on the confused and scared trio-
*The thirteenth Doctor(Jodie Whittaker) crashes through the train roof.*
Me; I FORGOT THE DOCTOR WASN'T EVEN HERE! How?! Well, good the show can do things by itself i guess! That fall was too quick/quiet, initially i didn't even realise what had happened till she got up. And she just gets up immediately without any damage, healing herself via regeneration or even dazedness! The 4th Doctor regenerated after a far lesser fall, that's just stupid. So while the others have been finishing their day, the Doctor has been dying/regenerating and then falling all the way to to Earth? Lol the others as this woman just gets up, sees them and is like 'what is it?' and Grace points to the monster behind 13, good 'Doctor Who drumbeat' riff and great title-referencing intro to the doc for them all(Ryan and Yasmin have literally just arrived too). And the following bit where the doc yanks the wires/cables to a halt is great.
Oh god, crunch time- please be The Doctor, Jodie! PLEASE!*Jodie proceeds to do a VERY good 10th Doctor(David Tennant) impersonation- the lots of fast talking/shouting, the exasperation when things go wrong, the trying to figure out it all, the talking to self whilst others watch, the occasionally petty/smug moments(a bit less than 10), the grinning/gurning/noises/sarcasm, the occasional anger/threat, the thinking ahead/of plans or ideas, the occasional quieter/more solemn expression, the physical running/stunts-the only thing missing is 10's intense confidence with serious moments and flirting.*
Me: W-wha? That...wasn't what i expected, not that i even knew what to expect. Interesting...if a less distracting individual, i.e. the usual gender and look or therabaouts, did these scenes, i feel it might be worse as it would just be like a fan or parody's impersonation. For those who barely know or care about 10-a recent and incredibly famous Doctor, mind-this could be a brilliant performance/idea. But for me..no. There's potential here, lots of it, for Jodie to be her own character, but instead she's a 80 percent complete portrayal of a previous doc. Also, she acts like this the way she did upon regenerating; immediate 'oh, brilliant' and getting on with the job/her life, she says 'i'm still forming' a couple of times but is consistently confident/hyper from start to finish. And the lack of intensity is what i was worried she wouldn't do- the Doctor's polite stubborness, grim sadness and grumpiness is all lacking, even in the later most serious moments.
With any luck she'll switch her responses so her default mode is less hyper and her serious moments get some passion, but it's an odd start. Jodie Whittaker does give it her all though-she is talented despite people's many doubts, it's the writing of'The Doctor' that is distractingly unoriginal and a little too light. And i've heard many praise 'so Doctory' or 'so David Tennant/younger Doctors', so for some others it's not a problematic repeat/ ripoff/parody minus genuine drama. It's also possible that this episode's focus on fleshing out everyone/thing else took away from the Doctor, despite being the best part of the episode.
One more thing; i haven't seen Jodie Whittaker in much and like some others thought she looked a bit bland and normal for the part. But that's been disproven- she acts a lot of emotions, lines and stunts this episode alone, and the potential i commented on in the trailer has turned out be true! Her acting is consistent and detailed, sometimes not even needing words, and the more unique bits such as her goofiness and anixousness really help. I can see how her sometimes childish and pushy personality could grate-'we're friends now, ok.', etc- but personally i find it amusing and her practical, hands-on arttitude certainly helps the plot along.
(N.B. I also ought to add i'm beginning to suspect an uncomfortable thought- that my initial disliking of Jodie Whittaker's casting as The Doctor won't change. The show certainly seems worth watching and being entertained by, but i'm worried that my dislike of Jodie's casting and now dislike of The Doctor's will mean i end up watching 'Companions and Beings of the Week-Who', in reversal to 11(Matt Smith)'s later series seeming to me like 'watch The Doctor and try to ignore all else-Who'. But that's my problem, not yours! At least Whittaker seems she could be A OK character though, and will hopefully become THE character this series.)
*13 tries to protect the other passenger Carl from the cable creature, but it zaps everyone and escapes. Yasmin, Ryan, Graham and Grace all introduce themselves to 13 and ask/argue as to who she is and why she's taking charge, culminating in them showing her the spacepod Ryan found-except it's gone, taken by a young guy who seems to recognise it...*
Me; Again, the characterisation is excellent! Yasmin trying to take control as her job dictates and realising that 13 knows and does more, 13 handling all the people calmly and cleverly whilst unnerving them with her eccentricity, Carl being that one person that doesn't want anything to do with the strange events, etc. And we get one brief nod to the harshness of the regeneration process as 13 faints and is taken home and looked after by nurse Grace whilst the others ask their friends/colleagues/internet about any other local sightings, the direction as 13 falls unconcious and lies there glowing in 12's ruined outfit and two pulses on Grace's stethoscope is just right. Couple of funny lines too, Ryan and Graham's subtle jibes/clashes and modern/old ways and 13's 'A&E? No, i never go anywhere that's just initials' lol(anywhere like that in Who before, fans?), and the fried egg sandwich craving, lovely typical 'Doctory' preferences and idiosyncrasies. And moving all this along is the memorable music- the curious and vaguely urgent electronic background and 'flatlining monitor' sound/dizzier camera as 13 wavers and faints is just perfect!
*the spacepod finally opens to let out an occupant, who mercilessly kills the bargaining guy who found it and escapes. Meanwhile, the cable creature searches/scans Sheffield for something-and 13 realises said creature implanted them all with miniature bombs when it zapped them to get rid of any witnesses...*
Me; So 13 tracks the signal operating the bombs by using Ryan's phone to scan the bomb in herself- this incarnation's lack of regard for her own safety is brave and likeable as well as inciting some neat stunts! She's not overpowered or perfect, but definitely a bit of an action hero which is great for both a female Who character and the first female Doctor. And the opposing alien threat is good, obviously an arrogant Predator/Terminator type who apparently knows something about the guy's missing sister. Between her, the sympatheticaly scared/angry guy and the train driver the bodies are mounting, it's not too brutal for the kids but nicely realistic, particularly after these past series of 'dead no alive no dead no in limbo'!
*the group spot the guy's killer and chase it to the cable creature, which turns out to be it's way of scanning the city for it's objective-but not before 13 has explained regeneration to the others and bult a new sonic screwdriver out of the alien and the guy's belongings!*
Me; just building a new sonic out of the alien's tech and some local Sheffield steel is a bit farfetched considering the sonic is a 'scanner, diagnostics, swiss army but without the knife, only idiots carry knifes'(subtle moral there-actually SUBTLE!!) but we've never seen a sonic created before so doesn't contradict anything? At least the music and trailer 'when people need help, i never refuse' conversation with Graham and Grace is great, and the scatterdash post-regeneration behaviour entertaining. The accent and Sheffield steel are lovely touches for fans just like previous Doctor accents/regional or worldly preferences.
*13 threatens to destroy the alien's cable-creature device(Gathering Coil) and discovers the alien is a hunter; whose race hunt random unmissed members of other species and collect trophies such as the teeth and bodies of victims to wear and display back home. The alien-Tzim-Sha of the Stenza-is here to capture a random human-Carl- and succeeding in his hunt will mean earning a leadership position. Tzim-Sha escapes using most of the Coil's power to teleport once, and 13 and the others race to warn Carl of his pursuer...*
Me; Lol that drunk victim calling the alien 'Halloween' and throwing his takeaway at him! The Stenza hunter's ice burns and jaw-breaking was bad enough, but now we get to see Chibnall's first new alien being!!!!! So is he better than the boring trailer glimpses? Well the introduction absolutely is; 13's figuring out of the plot, Graham's straightforward understanding and helping, and the dialogue most of all. 13's 'I vote you kill none of us, get behind me everyone', 'Interfering? Yeah well, we all need a hobby' and shrug, 'Me? I'm the...agh, forgot again! Right, same question, back at you' and 'it's bothering me, no offending me, why take a tooth from your victims?' and subsequent silent 'uh oh have i gone too far, alright go on do it' expression when the Stenza replies by taking off his helmet are just brilliant!
As for Tzim-Sha(Samuel Oatley, Witless, Little Devil)...luckily, our first Series 11 alien is an all-round success(beats Chibnall's previous Who/Torchwood monsters). Initially the emotionless Predator/Terminator-type appearence is a bit generic, but almost immediately the dark silhouette breaking humans becomes recognisable. And the lines help no end; (replying to 'Where is my sister)'You will never know'*kills*, (heard not seen)'Which of you shall i kill first?', and (takes off helmet to reveal facial piercings OF HUMAN TEETH, others have horrified/disgusted expressions)'A Stenza warrior wears his conquests. *slimy smile/cocky head tilt*You may tell your children you were once privileged to meet Tzim-Sha of the Stenza.' all inform us of the alien's dangerous attitude immediately.
But it's not all just menace; 13's subsequent 'Tim Shaw?!' mispronounciation and Tzim-Sha's resultant confused and then annoyed look as he corrects her are hilarious(good acting through the heavy makeup/prosthetic), and 13's realisation that he cheated by using the Coil to find Carl in his 'no weapons or assistance' challenge adds more dimension to the enemy. The eventual confrontation as Tzim-Sha finds Carl and 13 battles to save him is aided no end by both the Stenza's ruthless armoured killer(the last victim being a grandad calling his grandchild was a 'FEEL FOR US!' cliche too far) and 13's determination, as the cocky and ruthless enemy tries to detonate the miniature bombs placed in everyone by the Coil and refuses to admit his cheating or listen to the usual 'you don't have to do this', is cheering and leads to an exciting climax.
So a height-wary Carl gets cornered ATOP HIS OPERATOR DAD'S CRANE(13's sarcastic disbelief at the situation is hilarious-'When i said step...obviously, i meant jump!' lol). This leads to 13 CLIMBING THE OPPOSITE CRANE AND JUMPING ACROSS TO RESCUE CARL as Tzim-Sha drags him away(the whole section from 13 shouting to Carl to the end of Tsim and the Coil is fantastic), whilst a clumsy Ryan and out of her depth Yasmin follow and Graham and Grace destroy the Coil preventing anyone from climbing Carl's crane. The stuntwork as 13 rides the crane and makes the terrifying leap(the continuing awkwardness doing it all in 12's battered suit, offering to catch Carl despite now being smaller than him and noting her now shorter legs are amusing details) and Tzim-Sha relentlessly climbs the crane and smashes through the driver's window(bet no Stenza hunt's ever been this difficult lol)is a brilliant setpiece.
Which all leads to the classic 'I am the Doctor' moment, as 13 responds to Tzim's bomb-detonation by revealing she earlier removed the bombs with the new 'swiss army' sonic and put them in the Coil before Tzim absorbed it's power(pity the act was done offscreen, but onscreen it would've spoilered the upcoming victory) as a last resort if Tzim tried to blow them up. A scared Carl's self-motivating nervous mutters and defiant kicking the bomb-blasted Tzim off the crane clashes with the typical 'Doctor discourages people from killing' though, as 13 tells him off briefly and gives Tzim a possible chance to live by sending him home with his own spacepod tech(shades of 10 telling Harriet off as 'The Christmas Invasion' ends).
And that's the enemy defeated and 13 finally realising who she is- 'The Doctor, sorting out fair play across the universe'(sounds a bit moral-heavy compared to 'i'm just a traveller', hope the 10 copying doesn't include his 'Time Lord Victorious controls everyone' storyline!). And the others have all learnt to be brave and have adventures and they all live happliy ever after-
*The destroyed Coil electrocutes Grace and she falls to her death at Graham's side.*
Me; ...w-wait. But she was advertised as a main character connected to the companions, and previous modern family members etc have lived and reappeared in many episodes...damn! And another 'double meaning' title too(S10's 'The Pilot' pilot ep)! The more logical-to-follow and human plot is compounded by this ending; Sharon D Clarke's likeably warm Grace dies, second husband Graham and grandson Ryan are left to try and get along and organise her funeral(Turns out worries of seeing Bradley Walsh not 'Graham O'Brien' were unfounded throughout, especially his funeral speech), and Ryan still has trouble with his bike and life in general because his Dysphraxia wasn't magically cured or made worse for dramatic effect. Yes the 'dead, alive, both, neither' plotlines could return, but for now this episode balances life and death and the dealing with of both perfectly and bodes well for the series(like Primeval did!!).
So that's The Woman Who Fell To Earth, Episode 1 of Series 11 and a new era of Doctor Who. The final shot is no less than a dramatic and also hilarious cliffhanger(after watching Grace's funeral and Ryan's bike-riding attempts from a distance in typical Doctory fashion and choosing a new outfit from a charity shop, no surprise there, 13 uses the remaining Stenza tech to teleport to the TARDIS's signal-and finds herself, Ryan, Yasmin and Graham FLOATING IN SPACE!). The 'secrecy and no spoilers' trend is kept up with no 'Next This Series' trailer, but instead a glimpse of the upcoming cast of Series 11 set to an exciting rendition of the Who theme and dramatic font of the upcoming names. I've heard quite a few people criticise with 'never heard of them' or 'where's the series trailer?' though; i personally prefer this, this way the new series is still under wraps and seeing who we're getting still gives us something to tune in for. The contents of a series trailer can be criticised just as much as the contents of a cast list after all, good-looking clips could end up crap or unknown/doubted cast members could turn out great, and seeing this just made me sad that the previous many series's cast didn't get this treatment/tribute.
I guess you can tell my opinion already, but to summarize this review; Episode 1 is indeed 'Aw, Brilliant'. The lack of opening titles, reused style of S2-6 Doctor dialogue/behaviour/expessions, heavy focus on a relatable human setting and occasional lack of visual colour/alienness and humorous energy all stop this episode being perfect though. The titles will be back next ep, so it's up to Series 11 to ensure the other problems don't persist. I'm not sold on Jodie as the Doctor yet, i don't like the leaked new TARDIS or the new theme tune heard over the closing credits(it's literally just the original one/the one after that with a bit of drumbeat added and the '60's nostalgia/old instrumentation advantage lost. WHERE IS MY *NEW* DOCTOR WHO THEME TUNE?!), and i'm always going to miss the riveting madness of the Moffat era. But the main thing, the big fear that has been predicted for the last year thanks to sh***y advertising/promoting and fans worn down by years of problems, is what the new cast/Chris Chibnall/Segun Akinola/new crew have proved- that they can make Doctor Who's long history of being an all-round entertaining television programme and epic story continue.
Doctor Who is back!
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 2 'THE GHOST MOMUMENT' REVIEW
Aaaannnddd we're into Series 11 of Doctor Who! Lets get a shift on!
*NEW OPENING CREDITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*
Me; Not bad. The slower, darker, more ominous look and sound is good and distinct, and the font goes well with it. The theme tune still has that original Hartnell-esque middle section though and now unneccessary producer and director credits too, awkward. There's no flying Tardis or Doctor's face or any interesting visuals at all. They fitted in the Doc and all companions no problem. The purplish pinkish old-series style pulsating effect and later galaxy effect is pretty cool. Yeah, it's not great but it'll do.
*Ryan and Graham are rescued from death by space by a bossy female spaceship pilot called Angstrom(Susan Lynch), whilst Yasmin and 13 are rescued by a grumpy male spaceship pilot called Epzo(Shaun Dooley).*
Me; great cliffhanger resolution with Ryan going in and out of conciousness as he and Graham are rescued and treated by Angstrom! Angstrom seems interesting already, seeing them as an amusing but inconvenient 'trick' or distraction from her current destination. She does seem like a typical 'independent, cheeky, worried' female character from the Moffat era though! Get your own characters, Chibnall! Nice that Graham's getting to take a bit of charge helping Ryan, refusing to let aliens faze him like it does the young ones.
OHH, nice unbroken panning shot from where Yasmin wakes and gets up to where Epzo says they can't land on the planet 'Desolation' properly! There's always the possibility of a sneaky edit somewhere, but all three of them talking and arguing and expositioning and acting convincingly and moving/the camera moving was AWESOME nonetheless! So here's 13 doing more 10-style sarcastic fast-talking reasoning and references('Antiques Roadshow'), sigh. Lol at 'sorry Yas, forgot you were there'. Funny that- the only time 13 doesn't seem like 10 is when she's a bit more clumsy/distracted or apologetic, at which point she just seems like 11(Matt Smith) instead! At least Epzo seems interesting too, in control but obstinate, liking the guest stars/secondaries so far. The music is just low-key electronic sounds and drums alongside the 'ship crashing' sounds, but it works perfectly as does the following curious bit when Ryan/Graham/Angstrom land.
*13/Yasmin/Epzo crash land but are ok, and the group start crossing the sands and meet up with a hologram of the callous Llin(Art Malik), who explains he is the organiser of a dangerous space race for a cash prize of which the two pilots are the last remaining contenders. He refuses to help 13 and her friends leave the toxic planet as they are just inconsequential interferers/saboteurs to him and vanishes-but not before pointing out the finish line, which is the TARDIS!*
Me; Haha Graham/Ryan/Angstrom asking where the others are and then 13/Yas/Epzo nearly crash land right on top of them! Stupid that they all run IN A STRAIGHT LINE from the crashing ship though, why not just run to the side? Ship's not wide at all, easy enough to get out of the way! 'Welcome to what i presume is your first alien planet, don't touch anything' lol 13, perfect. And 13 lending Graham Audrey Hepburn's sunglasses! And 13's *a tent sudddenly appears* 'Do you two know what that is?' Me/Epzo *rolls eyes* 'It's a tent.' *walks off* 13 *exasperated* 'Well obviously it's a tent, what i meant wa-ah never mind, no dwardling' *follows the others*.
The spaceship medical pods gave them language translators, fine till we get the TARDIS and it's translators back. Lol Llin/Art Malik's subtle confusion at 13 and co, then curiosity at 13's intelligence, then annoyance at their interfering in the race, then dismissal of them, nice acting/reacting from one of the most famous guest stars despite the smallness of his role. The pilots only rescued them 'cause they thought they were a bonus prize/part of the race, ouch. The overall sense of this being a dangerous/morally dubious sport and the race/competitors setup is very interesting! Wonder where/when this is that the Doc's never heard of 'The Rally Of The Twelve Galaxies' or any of the money/currency the prize is.
Lots of little details here- it's the last ever race, the biggest ever prize, the TARDIS being the finishing line might not be a new thing and from the sounds of it winning this race is a way to escape a dangerous life in the local worlds. Guessing the bigger prize is due to the money coming from people's entry applications/calls and more people entered/paid this time due to it being the last race/chance? That and the 'enough money for winner AND their clan' sounds like the scheme is profiting off offering the slim chance of enough money to be safe from an otherwise dangerous life, ruthless but makes sense. Is it the last race 'cause the TARDIS is about to be taken away by the Doc? If so how did they know it was about to go, they don't seem to know who 13 is or that she's the owner of the momument or what the monument is. And why use the monument as the finish line for a race? It's all a BRILLIANT concept but more explanation is needed.
And now the title 'The Ghost Monument' is even cooler-it's a dematerialising TARDIS! Not just that 13 hasn't heard of them, the pilots/Llin have never heard of human beings or Earth. Hang on, Llin started the rally and competed and won? Then it's only as old as his lifespan, however long that is. At least there's a 'no sabotage/injury or killing' rule. So 'The Ancient Settlers' saw and named the TARDIS 'The Ghost Monument', and it appears/disappears every 1000 'rotations', then said settlers/civilisation left/was destroyed, the planet fell out of orbit/moved slightly so the team ended up in space tracking the TARDIS and not on the planet, and then this rally-organiser came and decided to use the site as part of his rally profiting off local people's desperation for money/oppertunity to escape the destroyed area, got it. Guess the TARDIS was damaged by the regeneration, went back in time and away in space and has been stuck in 'materialisation' mode ever since like a computer stuck on a loading screen! And now should be able to land with 13/the sonic's assistance. Oh, and great how Graham is constantly paying attention/putting the situation into layman's terms for both the viewers and the companions.
'He was a bit full of himself' so if 13 feels that way, is the arrogant/tragic/angry/flirty aspect of 10/11/12 and sometimes 9 being avoided by 13? That explains her characterisation-'laugh hard, run fast, be kind' as 12 said and avoiding the many previous mistakes made whilst emulating/copying the more successful Docs 10 and 13. However, the laughing and humor aspect is sparce so far, heck 13 hasn't laughed at all or seemed anything other than put out/sarcastic/nitpicking. And the lack of flirting or showing off is a great way to avoid any issue with the Doc's new gender, but makes it MASSIVELY difficult to identify 13 as the Doctor due to ALL the modern Doctors having this characterisation! And 8 had flirting and shouting and sorrow, the First Doctor flirted with Cameca and was arrogant/violent on occasion and sad, 6 was arrogant/smug and hurt, 7 could get angry or cheeky, 3 was arrogant/sometimes snobbish and sorrowful, 4 could be annoying/arrogant, 4 and 5 and 2 could all be very hurt/stubborn/impatient and just saunter off...Y U CHANGED SO MUCH, 13? I can see the reasons in-story and showrunning-wise but I WANT THE DOCTOR BACK! And i want to see if Jodie is capable of all these acts!
*the team and Epzo and Angstrom have to cross some ruins to reach the finish line, but night is approaching and they're not alone...*
Me; Venusian Akido, nice. Hang on, i know it's supposed to be from Venus but 'nuns'? Think that's new, a play on 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' with Venusians being female perhaps? Except they just had a female Martian Ice Warrior Queen in S10, drat. But if nuns invented it as a pacifist form of combat then...THE DOCTOR'S LITERALLY BEEN 'FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL' ALL THIS TIME! Hahaha brilliant! And now 'he' runs like one too! Lol stupid jokes, sorry. Why is Ryan doing nothing but being reluctant/scared/selfishly only interested in things that amuse him like trying a gun/arguing with Graham so far? And Yasmin doing nothing and saying very almost nothing(at least not a Clara 2.0 after all)? Still, Bradley Walsh is doing great with all the characterisation he's getting all to himself.
More silly-big numbers, 4000 racers and 94 planets etc, did Classic Who have loads of impossibly high numbers/farfetched tasks? Nothing'll beat Moffat's '4 Billion years of punching' though, you madman! So Angstrom's planet Albar and family are being 'Cleansed', and Epzo's mum taught him his 'only help yourself' attitude, more characterisation; but between this and the upcoming 'Rosa Parks justice' and rumored 'witches/hunts' ep aren't the 'fighting a regime/prejudice/cruelty' themes a bit endless so far? Show us the good in the universe/aliens, not just the bad! I have to admit though, this serious and down-to-earth style is an interesting change for Who, it doesn't feel like Who but a few episodes of change and a chance to see the show as more of a straight drama is curious.
Ah, Yas lives with a bananas dad and selfish sister apparently. 13 just keeps going quiet/doing nothing and only talking to issue a command/question.
The ruins are a bit modern/building-site sque and less alien. More mentions of Epzo's self-lighting cigar definetly don't mean anything. The constant talking/bragging of Epzo, refusal of any help/ sense, his setting off the alarms etc is in complete contrast to Angstrom's tragic story(her missing family, dead wife) and listening/nice attitude. Nice touch how the characters get tired/winded, need sleep etc. Ryan happily playing Call Of Duty with the unfortunately-undefeatable shooting gallery robots is fun! More going on from 13 about anti-violence, nagging Ryan repeatedly whilst (of course) saving the day/entire ruins with the sonic, despite blowing last week's enemy up and the 'no-knife' thing contradicting Angstrom saving Epzo from...
Oh, i can't say it. Following the literally-just-some-brown-water and very undetailed/dumb robots is... DIRTY TOILET ROLL. Blowing in the wind and threatening to wrap everyone to death. To be fair though, it is pretty funny and sentient bandages covering the place's 'wounds' is an idea.And i thought last time's electrical cable monster was cheapish! 13's lines/expressions are differing from 10 now- they're more lecturing. 'I am very smart! We'll take you, if you're lucky. I will nag you about it- a lot! Hope you've reconsidered your entire life philosophy.' all clashes with both episodes's oft-heard 'i don't know/i'm not sure/i'm sorry/what's going on?/i've failed'. Graham suggesting Angstrom sneaks ahead and beats Epzo, lol. HANG ON- the Stenza are the warmongering unseen enemy here? Recurring baddies? Hmm...the 'arrogant tooth fairy Predator' thing was a very cool idea(amazed Moffat didn't come up with it), but not sure many will take them seriously as a massive genocidal force. The 'robots shut down ruins's life support to force group out of hiding/13 kills the entire gang of threat-making bandages by lighting the slightly gaseous/toxic air by throwing Epzo's self-lighting cigar and snapping her fingers' sequence is neat!
Said 'bog roll' making psychic threats is just dumb! Their voices are good though-*to 13*'A dozen lives, afraid of your own newness. We see deeper and further back though; The Timeless Child...she doesn't know. We see what is hidden even from yourself. The outcast, abandoned and unknown...' and accompanying music is great! Glad the 'no story arcs' thing seems to be hinted as wrong. Aanndd they've reached the finish line; 13 suggesting Epzo and Angstrom demand joint winnership/ splitting the prize from the cowardly/entitled Llin is a hopeful ending for them and the following '13-What about us being stuck here to die? Help us! Llin-*like he can't believe her impudence* ...No.*lazily teleports himself, the surprised Epzo and Angstrom and the lavish tent away leaving the gang just standing there in the desert*' is funny!
13 following her earlier 'i don't know's and squeaking/gasping when fleeing with 'sorry the teamwork failed, we did all this for nothing, we're doomed' when she said just earlier the TARDIS was due to rematerialise and 'my beautiful ghost monument, daddy/mummy really needs you right now!' and lots of teary/hopeless looks is...just weak! Since when did the Doctor become so easily confused/needing teamwork or emotional reassurance/defeated by every worry?! Graham getting away with calling her 'Doc', lol. Oh look Yas spoke, forgot she was there for the past 20-odd minutes. 'Graham-*sees 'spaceship' But..it's an old police box! Ryan-You expect us to all fit inside there? 13-Yep. Yas-At the same time?' LOL!
The music here and till the end is perfect! Why do ALL THREE companions just walk in with quiet expressions on their faces? Nice lines though; Graham's scared-ish 'but how do you fit all this inside a police box?', Yas's 'Dimensional engineering? You can't engineer dimensions...' and Ryan's 'A timeship? Get out! This...is proper awesome. Can i touch any-*reaches for console like 13 originally did* 13 'No!' are all individual and just right! As for the new TARDIS...the walls still look like a garage/car parts, the floor is still forgettable white-lined tiles/panels, the columns are still peachy- beige crumpled duct tape, the door is now the whole inside-of-the-police-box-leads-to-a-room instead of the famous police-box-with-a-room-inside, the stairs/doors to the rest of the TARDIS are gone/not visible, the central moving rotor that operates it all is gone, and the console is still sharp/pointy copper plumbing BUT WITH TOY LIGHT-UP TARDIS AND CUSTARD CREAM DISPENSER!
'The Ghost Monument' has a terrific first 15 minutes, small but very entertaining guest cast, intriguing space race idea, several amusing/helpful lines from most, cool title, hints for future storylines and another well-done 'welcome to the TARDIS' scene to end the ep and finally send our heroes off on the adventure of a lifetime after the interesting 'no TARDIS to join/stranded by teleport' pause.
However, the race is limited to just the final steps, the hinted and heavily-exposited Stenza war/ galaxies-wide devastation story arc yet another cliched 'humanoid future apocalypse society' and a repeat of Series 1's story arc, Yas gets almost zero emotion and lines, and the ruins and enemies all look like modern b-movie sci-fi. In the end there's about 25 minutes of a pretty good episode and 20 minutes of very dull and exposited filler- it's up to you if that is enough to rate nicely.
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 3 'ROSA' REVIEW
Hey everyone, welcome to this instalment's pre-review prologue- what? Oh, apparently Doctor Who now just goes straight into the opening titles with no hook or preview or teaser whatsoever. How riveting. Guess that means i can cancel my own Who review prologues too!
*The episode starts with activist and seamstress Rosa Parks(Vinette Robinson)'s initial 1943 clash with the Montgomery segragated bus, as her refusal of driver James Blake(Trevor White)'s order to disembark and reenter the bus via the 'coloureds' back door results in him locking her out and driving off with her fare. Meanwhile, 13 is having trouble getting the others home...*
Me; this opening is really well done; the music is memorable and dramatic, the direction and segway to '12 years later' seamless, and you can see both the reason and stubborness in Rosa and Blake.
Also, the visuals are beautiful, great quality as usual but now bringing an entire town to life in both nightime and broad daylight. Only problem is the slight over-the-top presentation- i couldn't find any mention of the bit where Rosa deliberately sits in a 'White' seat and says to a surprised Blake 'you better not hit me', and i'm almost certain pointed 'look, so inspirational' trumpet music didn't play every time she did something!
The TARDIS is being led off course by Artron energy? As in TIME TRAVEL radiation(used and mentioned often before)? Oooh! Lol Graham asking if Elvis is around! But where's the reactions to time travel? This lot have only just met 13 and just last ep i.e. a few hours ago were doubtful of her reliability let alone being able to visit any location in any time period, now they're believing her immediately and just strolling out into the past in front of everyone without any wariness or 'is this for real' or anything at all bar Yas's 'awesome'! And we later learn all three of them have heard of Rosa and this time/place, but didn't even consider Ryan's race, 13's gender wearing ankle-baring trousers with braces or Yas's race AND wearing tight trousers a possible awkwardness?
And yep, immediate assault and death threat to Ryan for picking up a white woman's dropped glove, well done. Good way to introduce Rosa as she intervenes and offers her seamstress services to the offended white male, chances of ALL four being fans of her though? Good casting too, seems like recasting people from past episodes (Vinette was in 2007 ep 42) often works well! 13 isn't doing much; she tried to repark the TARDIS 14 times before reading the scanners to see what the problem was(!), she didn't give the confused humans any 'don't change the past/watch out for trouble' warning before letting them all into the past, she didn't show any happiness or curiosity at the place like the Doc often does when travelling/arriving(didn't do this last ep either), she let the others rush to Ryan's aid and argue with the clearly unfriendly locals with a surprised/confused expression like the Doc hasn't faced conflict upon arriving somewhere hundreds of times before, and now she's just awkwardly stumbling over her words to Rosa when the Doc is normally curious or excited to meet a historical figure...
*The group stop for food and discuss events- whilst the TARDIS gets some unwanted attention from a cosmic racist..........pfftPHAHAHAHA, sorry but that phrase sounds ridiculous! As per usual the publicising of Series 11 continues to impress, it's already convinced so many people to keep watching*HEAVY sarcasm*.*
Me; Music continues to fit nicely as the mysterious Krasko(Joshua Bowman, 'Revenge' was mostly awesome) tries to break into the TARDIS. We're unsure of his motives at this point- he's not dressed too out-of-place, knocks on the door before trying to break in, shows nervousness and annoyance at it's presence like he knows what it is and has some sort of scanner/gun. Ah Yas and Ryan's school classes were named after people like Rosa, that and Graham being an older bus driver explains their knowing Rosa-PHAHA Ryan thinks Rosa was 'the first black woman to drive a bus'! I do like how Ryan's characterisation/Tosin Cole's performance is often amusingly natural and honest with his emotions, his character is quite similar to the 00's's 'Mickey' but less laughed at/forgotten. Yas hasn't done anything but go 'wow look, what's going on here' so far though(and again same last ep), that 'Ryan makes fun of her being mistaken for mexican/Yas jokes she'll use him as a pinata' line's her best yet!
Also- maybe it's just a coincidence, but looking at this episode and the prior 2 the characterisation seems a bit skewed? White male-wise we've had; a cowardly self-help boy, a guy stealing a weird object and leaving his unstable friend alone with it while he takes his money for a drink, an obviously-about-to-die grandad immediately dying, no white males at the packed funeral, a hostile/selfish gets-saved-by-the-ladies smoker jibing at someone's hostaged family, a probably racist futuristic terrorist, and...*headcounts, gah maths*about 10 varied in vocation and age white males all encouraging racist behaviour to Ryan/Yas/Rosa etc and threatening arrest/ violence/death(puncher, Blake, diner boss/workers/ customers, bus passengers, cop, older guy with wife). Also non-white male wise, obsessed sister guy getting killed immediately, drunk jibing guy getting killed immediately, blue guy cheating and hunting' killing'mutilating then beaten up, guy letting numerous lost'wartorn people die in his race-for-money, and a couple of potential historical figures reduced to one brief scene. Also Also, Graham always being the most doubtful/ reluctant about aliens/13/fighting back and Ryan always being told off for abusing his bike/jibing at Graham/touching alien objects'weapons'TARDIS/ shooting beings/trying to talk with touchy 1950's people(even Rosa snaps at his grammar and nosiness).
Female-wise; the new Doctor immediately-after-regen 'sorting out fair play' with less arrogance and more helping/apologizing(plus real-life 'feminist', two bickering women listening to Yas's advice, an adventurous and caring potential-companion nurse with a packed funeral and constant later-ep references dying saving the day, a pretty and practical not-mexican cop inspired by figures like Rosa(plus real-life 'more brown people on tv'), an Indian sister being tragically hunted, a 'poor woman' train driver dying from shock not violent hunt, many varied ladies at the funeral, a friendlier war-torn pilot with dead wife/hurt family saving her aggressive rival, Rosa with the constant literal trumpeting'episode title'universal asteroid, a waitress told by her white male boss to intervene, and some 1950's ladies taking no action against 13 etc. Plus next week's trailer- Yas's mum and an Asian girl interact with 13, whilst an older white male wails/cowers from the monster.
After the last 4/5 series having various similar lines/moments(unbearable tetosterone, seeing a male think is weird, white male racist, Zygon ep's all-female UNIT, hope future is all female, and others etc), plus the S11 publicity and discussion constantly this, i just hope S11 gets a bit more balance and variety in both the male and alien character departments(and now i have an excuse to go back and watch/check previous series!). But considering the upcoming eps- Yas's grandmother in the Partition of India and a witch-hunt themed ep- it's uncertai-and that's 4 uses of Rosa's trumpet, no 5, in ten minutes as she bumps into Krasko. Nice how it contrasts with his ominous theme though, and subtle acting from both.
What does 'GFB' on Krasko's Artron-radiating suitcase mean? LOL Ryan 'can we open it?' like a nosy kid and Graham 'you won't be excited if it's a bomb'! 13 investigates and says she's excited, but has no expression/voice pitch to indicate so. 'Secondary charger for a-*charged gun fires at them* lol! Nice action music, aww Ryan grabbing Graham's arm, oooh nice shot of 13 and Krasko standing on opposite sides. Hangon...*distracted by episode*..ohh this confrontation is PERFECT! Questions and banter turning to hostility as they figure each other out, but his gun is out of charge and the Doctor's hardly gonna torture his plans/motives out of him so stalemate. We also later find out his threat to kill them if they interfere has a catch, explaining the slightly doubtful/worried look he gets. So his gun(Temporal Displacer) basically sends you somewhere in time like a Weeping Angel? And he has a Vortex Manipulator(from prev series) too, on which 13 uses the same 'cheap and nasty time travel' quote? NICE!
Another one of those A-team type group pose shots from the trailer, not forced at all...ha Yas likening sneaking through the 'No Coloureds' sign window to sneaking into a boy's room and Ryan's suprised recognition of said boy, with this and a couple of scenes last 2 eps is a possible romance between them coming? Oh cmon 13 you are not Banksy in disguise. Your acting is spot on sometimes though, not sure if it's you or the dialogue that keeps being patchy/dull. Yep Ryan stranding someone in the far future with the displacer is horrible. The music change from 'saving the day' to 'ominous' is good. 'Doc' and 'still not used to being called Ma'am', lol! And 13 and Graham having to pose as an innocent holidaying couple(!) for the nosy cop, 13 calling Graham 'darling' and the weirded-out look when Graham puts his arm round her LOL! Have to say they are handling the gender change excellently so far! Still not a fan of it or Jodie's casting, but at least they're doing the best they can and more acknowledgement of the coping with the big change for the Doc and new/unknowing companions would be awesome.
Jodie's 'i don't recognise anyone of that description' and 'we don't know anyone who doesn't have a right to be here' when the cop asks about any 'worrying negroes' around is just subtly so cold and without actually lying, brilliant! Between this cop, Ryan implying he gets stopped by police 'cause of his color, no sign of police investigating or mentioning the train crash in Ep 1 and Yas whining about her job being 'boring' they're painting a crappy picture of law enforcement, hope this isn't the new 'Doctor vs authority' thing as Modern Who already overdid the 'Doctor vs soldiers' thing to death and at least then they had the Time War storyline to justify it. Yas's mention of being suspected a terrorist is an important mention though; more smaller but not rare lines/moments like this is the perfect way to cover important issues in Who without overstretching the cast/dialogue or distracting from the storylines/adventures(unlike the Zygon Invasion/Inversion 'Isis/humanlike monsters/females do good in the end' Who-lite eps. Heck the whole conversation here with Yas and Ryan seems more natural and understandable than most 'Doctor/companion gives moral lecture' speeches in my opinion.
And now Graham's pretending to be 'Steve Jobs wouldn't decieve you', double oh c'mon. Wait, Grace asked if bus driver Graham was like Blake and wore a Rosa Parks t-shirt when they met? TRIPLE C'MON! Between his gran and class name Ryan would've known about Rosa if so, and a whole group of hardcore Rosa fans becoming companions exactly as the TARDIS is distracted by a guy targeting that exact historical figure is a hell of a contrived coincidence! Ah, that neat motif from Ep 1 again. The idea of Doc'n'co protecting history from meddling is great and not used enough, and with Primeval gone and other time-travel stories briefer or obscurer not very available in a mainstream/family format.
However, the 'time-disruption schedule/planning' takes up a lot of time and is presented pretty dull and factual- i know Who was planned as educational IN 1963 but haven't we established since then more of a balance and 'get everyone invested' style? Problem is this isn't a purely historical/factual ep OR a balanced entertaining/informative ep, so leaves a more vague feel. Funny neither Krasko nor Rosa questions the group's following them/questioning them/sonicing them aside from Ryan's 'stalk Rosa from 4 FEET BEHIND HER', i guess an activist and a criminal are used to unwanted attention but this is pushing it. HAHA 13 just deflected Krasko's attempt to send her away to the 79th century with his own case, now that is a Doctorish move!
And Doctorish deduction/interaction as Krasko turns from determined to worried as 13 figures he's from the 51st century Stormcage prison(prison brand/tattoo) and hasn't killed/maimed any obstacles yet because he was 'rehabilitated' with a neural restrictor to hurt him anytime he got violent(the way he reveals his crime- killing about 2000 people- slowly to creep out 13 and grins is horribly effective). Why Stormcage didn't just execute him...guess execution is still outlawed in some parts of the future. Does his 'it might COLOUR your view of me' and later 'your kind' remarks hint he's a racist/ supremacist? He's at least aterrorist apparently. So he's heard of a TARDIS on the black market('it might be worth a bit!/That old thing? Nah, massive mileage, one careless owner'LOL!), but doesn't know who or what(Time Lords) the Doc is('Who are you?')?
This scene...Jodie smashing his Vortex Manipulator knowing he can't retaliate, choking out that fact even as Krasko's strangling her, standing over him regaining her breath as the restrictor kicks in and he drops convulsing to the floor, seamlessly bending down and reminding him she's now his only chance of escaping 1955, then striding round him coat billowing as he gets up and questioning him about Rosa...BRILLIANT. Jodie may not have the sheer passion and emotion of previous Doctors, but her performance is the closest she's gotten to it and the distinctions of her Doctor are continuing to be hinted. And the finishing exchange; Jodie's stubborness and then fear, and Krasko's response- ' It's amazing what you can get by working and bartering in that prison. I had a lot of time to think in Stormcage; and i realised, even tiny actions can have huge consequences.(13-go home, or to the beach, you've lost your kit, no weapons-) You think that makes a difference?(13- while i'm here, yes.) Well, lets see' feels like no matter the Doctor's actions, she hasn't won yet and her own 'no killing' policy is causing that.
Have to ask though, why can't the 4 of them just tie him up or send him back to the 51st century with the Vortex Manipulator or TARDIS? I haven't seen an answer anywhere, so calling it a plot hole for now. WAIT- we get Martin Luther King(Ray Sesay) in this ep too? Two historical figures for the price of one, nice! And Ryan's admiration on behalf of recently deceased Grace(a fan of such figures in general apparently) and sneakily calling him and Rosa by their full names like an excited fanboy is lovely. The plus side of not restraining Krasko is his Meddling Monk-like(Classic Who character) tendencies as he messes with Blake and Rosa's lives in order to stop her boycott and divert history from 'going wrong', but couldn't we have just had a bit of that THEN the group actually stopping him instead of just running round mending things?
Even more problematic, the group's interacting with and provoking Rosa, Blake and the Montgomery townspeople starts shaping their views; thus meaning that a pivotal historical event was now partially caused by Doctor Who. There's homage/tribute and then there's rewrite, and if affecting Who's canonicity and established points like The Time War and gender regeneration was controversial then controlling and re-presenting historical figures/events and social-political issues is less touching and more a step too far, and similar to what the villain is doing.
The more subtle reworking of Rosa's theme here is perfect, and 13's stealing of Krasko's Temporal Displacer and stopping him with bus driver Graham's aid(G 'I told Blake not to take the day off. Strangely, he didn't listen.',13 'Krasko's clever, i'll give him that') as the music concurs great. And 13 distracting the replacement bus driver with a chance to see her friend Elvis very timey-wimey! Keeping Rosa busy with fixing 13's coat lets us see 13's t-shirt/braces, Graham trying to fist-bump Ryan is amusing, and 13's 'thank you,you're going to make a big difference' a sweet double-meaning.
Oh LOL Krasko's meddling by smashing up the bus includes being disguised as a mechanic, more disguises please(the old 'Doc disguised as cleaning lady' wins)!
Graham stealing a new bus and Yas guiding Rosa still leaves 13 free, so why is hunted-by-police Ryan ('HEY, old people!' wouldn't just annoy racists!)sent to fetch passengers?! And why does Blake obey the instructions of interfering non-white strangers to drive the stolen bus instead of calling his boss or the authorities? Krasko's wound-up twitching is creepy considering what he's capable of. Yas telling Rosa about being a cop is nice. 'pretty boy'(thanks Ryan) blocking the bus with a car and warning 'your kind mustn't get above yourselves' is neat-WAIT! Did Ryan just send Krasko back 'as far as the displacer goes'? The 'if you like the past so much stay there' should've been the Doctor's, and after telling Carl off for tripping the already-DYING-by-her-hand Tim Shaw and telling Ryan off just for playing Call Of Duty with the target bots 'A LOT!', she just lets impressionable Ryan likely KILL Krasko by sending him to The Big Bang/uninhabitable ancient Earth/space without even blinking? Or even considering saving Krasko and having him live a punishment as per the Doctor's 'avoid most violence, don't turn companions into weapons' policy? ...Ok, now the plot holes/contradictions and skewed 'we are good whatever we do, they all do evil' characterisation genuinly unignorable/tolerable.
At least Graham's 'i don't want to be part of this' upon having to help take up the bus seats and earlier remembering his wife is touching, and the urgent theme as Rosa sees the seat situation and 13 silently watches perfect-WHAT is that?*Black Lives Matter anthem kicks in, plus overdramatic slo-mo, plus removal of real-life cop's 'I don't know why we have to push you around', the TARDIS's entire central column starts floating and bobbing, and the episode ends with another group shot as 13 explains Rosa's life story to three big fans who should already know it and the end credits are hijacked by MODERN POP MUSIC. Those final 10 minutes...UGH!
In all, 'Rosa' is a good Who episode; more than just the inspirational message everyone's praising it for, not completely bogged down by it's plot holes and overdramatic saccharine dull skewed righteous preachiness like everyone's critisising it(and Series 11 in general), but nowhere near perfect. 13 gets some fantastic dialogue/actions but Jodie's performance is a little vague in comparision and at times the episode forgets she's there(again a Series 11 problem due to so much time spent on good companions and guest stars). Graham continues to do good, Ryan keeps getting better and Tosin Cole is giving the most varied/detailed/identifiable performance of the group, Yas continues to be ok thanks to Mandip Gill but the most undistinguishable and forgotten memeber. Rosa and Krasko are different in many ways but both characterised so understandably and effectively and Vinette Robinson and Josh Bowman give PERFECT performances. The setting and music is also wonderful due to always fitting the situation but the characters of ALL other persons onscreen are two-dimensional stereotypes(Trevor White as Blake and Ray Sesay as MLK are well cast at least). Gets a bit more done than similarly good/weak Ghost Monument but less solid than equally hard-working Woman Who Fell To Earth, i'd say-what about you though?
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 1 EPISODE 4 'ARACHNIDS IN THE UK' REVIEW
Happy HallWhoeen everyone! Let's review 'Arachnids In The UK'-3/10, crappy title.
*The episode starts with a creepy disused hotel, in which the American owner and millionaire businessman/presidential candidate Jack Robertson(Chris Noth) is arguing with his employees Frankie, Kevin and Najia Khan(Shobna Gulati) about a potentially reputation-damaging problem.*
Me; Nice opening shadowy tour! Robertson is clearly a Trump caricature, but that could work. Frankie is his niece's wife, ok. Why did bodyguard Kevin just leave the door wide open with his back to it? And Robertson sacks Yaz's mum and expects Frankie to magically make a massive problem dissappear, more balanced male/female representation then-What is that? Ok, new Time Vortex effect, should be on the opening credits though...jeez, it looks like strung-up lights or strobe lighting with the colours/dots, nice strands/cobwebs effect but too fast and hectic. Aww, nice scene with 13 reluctant to leave them home and their adjusting to being back home and only half an hour after they got teleported! 13 is getting more distinctive-she's childish, dragging her feet and looking down sadly and then being all 'stronger accent''i've never been for tea at Yaz's!' straightaway; sometimes it's endearing like Doc2 Troughton, sometimes annoying and makes her seem stupider-especially in comparision to the prior long history and attitude.
Uh oh, Doc trying to make small talk lol. You can see the personalities of Yas's mum(well-meaning), dad(helpful) and sister(spoilt) immediately, nice! Adds more to Yaz's characterisation too(sensible, nice, feels trapped/bored) too. Lol 13 helping a stranger find a missing neighbour, 'treasure hunting' an uncollected parcel, happy to try dad Hakim's 'terrible' cooking and being curious about the local 'conspiracy', seeing the Doc in normal/dull situations is a good way to show how different/nosy /helpful/determined they are. 'Married to the job/has no job' contrats between Yaz and sister Sonja lol-wait, the Doctor used to have sisters as well as a brother? Cool! That 'i used to be a sister at a training camp for assasins' both contradicts the Doc's 'no violence' policy and implies they've been a female before somehow, GAH!
Ryan isn't doing much but fits in. Music so far is almost non-existent and meh, silence works in domestic/normal scenes scenes but otherwise feels dull. Ohh...this scene of Graham going home to his now empty house, the cobweb representing both the abandonment and a subtle hint of the upcoiming threat, his grief AND wife Grace's shadowy memory standing in the background reminding him of what chores need doing...that silently sad 'I've got so much to tell you', damn. This scen is so ordinary, not overdone like last week's often lecturing/'time to feel something now, cue the music and camera!', it's BEAUTIFUL! 13 convincing neighbour Anna's Uni colleague Jade to give her permission to break in the door with the sonic lol! 'Gone a few days', finally some subtle creepy/ urgent music, no power/lights, too many cobwebs in Graham's attic, and OH CRAP Anna suffocated in her sleep by a spiderweb cocoon. Ryan's reaction as he sees after opening the curtains, Jade's upset and 13's calling for Anna and then 'i'm sorry' and taking charge as they encounter a massive spider is great! A more adult fear this ep with arachnophobia, things under the bed or in an attic/ cuboard, and dying alone and not being found, it's excellent!
Anna both looks and acts like prior recent clever worried brunette expert Osgood; but minus the being a big fan of the Doc and wearing their clothes/referencing them like an in-show fan, and the dying/cloning-type nonsense and 'gee i sure hope i get to be a companion', so basically minus yet more overdone 'feel sympathetic/be distracted by fanservice' tricks and with some useful-to-the- situation knowledge instead, much preferable!
So the villain this time is literally just domestic spiders made massive? Hmm, well it's another rare 'non-alien' incident for Who like last time's historical event, and it fills the uncommon 'everyday made adventurous' niche Primeval filled, so ok! But so far the villains have been an alien bossy cheating trophy-hunter male and sentient cables, an alien-era bossy unfair-rules bookie plus his white male competitor and sentient bandages and dirty water, an alien-era bossy white male meddling cause-led killer and some white male humans, and now a white male corrupt enviroment-damaging bossy businessman and sentient/ big ordinary spiders. In other words there is a pattern of 'adult non-black(possibly Mexican?lol) travelling male with a world/life-damaging cause influencing a usually inanimate/reasonable everyday thing and hurting the local people(often females e.g. train driver' sister'Grace'Angstrom+wife'Rosa+racists's wives'Jade'Anna 'Frankie+ wife'Yaz's mum)/place before 13 and others lecture against their cause, find them incompetent/underhand/pathetic, damage their equipment/base and let them live/get away', and that is one hell of a specific, topical and boringly predictable threat. Heck, that's 10 Who threats and ONLY 1 looks/sounds ALIEN(Ep1 Stenza)!!! VARIETY in the other half of this series, please!
13 deals with the spider and questions Jade and her zoology research calmly and determinedly, good. Graham spots a letter in Ryan's Dad's handwriting and gives it to Ryan. A guilty-feeling Frankie makes an 'insurance policy' by filming what is underneath Robertson's hotel; and gets killed by the hiding spiders, a nastier offscreen death and decent bit part. And why is Yas the police officer not arresting Robertson or even mentioning what she is when he calls her a 15 year old, THREATENS TO SHOOT HER AND HER MOTHER, admits to paying people off to hide the evidence AND tries to pay all of them including her an officer off, yet says they including Yas's mum a staff member are trespassing and 'my hotel, my rules' when they were unknowing and despite his own crimes, puts his bodyguard Kevin in front of him, shuts him in, and lets him slowly and agonisingly get killed whilst making flippant remarks like 'what will i do without Kevin?', actually DOES execute a spider(it was injured/dying but he did not know this), said 'just geta gun and shoot things like a civilised person', repeatedly harrasses her mum by accusing her of the damage to the hotel along with eco-protesters even when he is literally shown the spiders are responsible(so idiotic too) and threatens to sue/lawsuit etc her, then laughs off all their objections to these actions and just walks off free to go and be voted PRESIDENT without any of this coming out(no 'fixed history, no changing' plot either).
Reference to Amelia Earhart, the one from Night At The Museum perhaps! Jade tells them about 3 months worth of giant spiders appearing around all of Sheffield and suggests notifying the police of the danger i.e. Anna's death despite the worry that her and her colleagues's research will implicate them, good! Lol Graham's glasses and Ryan doing shadow puppets on the board whilst 13 and Jade are all straight-facedly researching! Chris Noth's performance is vaguely amusing in how silly it is- his exaggerated mannerisms and faces, language like 'leave forever' and repeated 'you're fired' and general self-serving attitude is dumb but consistent, it's just the caricatured character/satire of Trump(literally mentioned) and stupid gun-wielding Americans that is both distractingly silly and insulting, plus not helped by last week's 'EVERY white member of an American town is racist'. 13 meeting him by intercepting him with the psychic paper is neat and saying 'omit no detail no matter how strange' then '...Right. Very succinct summary, well done. You just wait here with my..people' *looks to confused group* is amusingly Doctory!
As is hanging upside down in the hole the spider just made asking for Kevin and nearly getting her head chomped! LOVE how fearless/reckless this Doctor is physically especially as the first female;
even though combined with her childish/petty/awkward/doleful attitude, lack of passion/grief/fury and expository/preachy dialogue/social issue lectures does make her feel stupider/more naive and by-the-book do-gooder/'fair play sorter' minus a child's joy/curiousness/upsets. She's definitely distinct now as opposed to Ep1's Tennant impersonation/lines, but still doesn't convince as the Doctor due to lack of the Doctor's emotions/history/enthusiasm/fears and intensity'concern(yes obviously you may already be convinced). Whittaker has shown good acting so far though, it's more a combination of the unfamiliar casting/all new show revamp and said more basic/dull/ irritating characterisation/direction that's sabotaging her despite a few BRILLIANT lines/moments. Haha Graham's learnt to 'run now, ask questions later'!
13's childish 'i don't know who you are anyway' and faces, LOL! Why are Ryan and Graham going 'it's that guy!' and waving/grining dumbly then suggesting to him the spiders were planted by Russians? So they all look dumb whilst the females 13, Najia and Jade suggest various ideas and look at them patronisingly? The trailer 'WE say she's in charge!' makes more sense now inresponse to the influential Robertson. Najia being concerned about Yas's odd new 'friends'is understandable-WAIT. So Yas's own mum who knows her daughter just asked if 13 and Yas were dating, and Yas didn't look confused/say she was straight nor did 13 seem sure they weren't/say S/He was straight? Ok, so apparently Yas is either the second black lesbian companion in a row after Bill, plus Series 8/9/10's Vastra/Jenny/Heather; or bisexual if the boy she mentioned from school counted and so even more like the determined but sometimes thinly characterised recent companion(Series 7/8/9,Twice Upon A Time)Clara as pointed out in the Ep 1 review plus Series 5/6/7/8's Amy and Missy rarely showing interest/comments towards females. So EVERY SINGLE FEMALE COMPANION FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS AND 2 SHOWRUNNERS plus the female Master, a couple of recurring females and female Doctor is not straight or is hinted not to be? Ok sure glad we know, but that seems just a little unlikely!
'Dude, i eat danger for breakfast'~The Doctor, 2018. I have to admit that initial 'despite my dislike and worries, she looks possibly likeable' feeling i had when 13 regenerated was somewhat correct. Finding the cocooned bodies of Frankie and Kevin in the spiders's 'food store' is horrifying and the music subtly goes more subdued, plus Robertson grabs Kevin's no-longer-needed gun. Graham's realisation that neither he nor Ryan checked the ceiling when searching, lol. Then the direction/music or lack of and acting for the next 10 minutes all reaches peak 'subdued/serious' tone as 13 starts lecturing on this episode's moral/topic- 'blocked in specialist toxic vertical integration corporate waste disposal landfill mine hotel conspiracy pumping methane/sulphides/trichloroethylene and mutating aborted bio-engineered innocent human-eating arachnid carcasses that should be given a HUMANE NATURAL DEATH' by leaving them to starve, suffocate and become painfully mutated cannibals, whilst the one next door to a companion's family that suffocated their neighbour and is attracted to/infected by their rubbish and waste disposal chute and the many that have spread across the city of Sheffield over 3 months via tunnels/being strong enough to EXPLODE bathroom sinks and pose a life-threatening human-eating/suffocating risk should be forgotten about and let go as should the gun-wielding bribing staff-deaths-hiding hotels-for-thousands-of-people-built-on-top-of-toxic-waste-and-forced-to-be-cannibal-BY-THE-DOCTOR-AND-ALLIES-arachnids potential President, whose shooting-once-dead of the horribly mutated suffocating dying spider 'mercy killing' is vehemently objected to by everyone else who favour the 'watch it suffer and look sad whilst lecturing about it and the other 15 they just locked in the other inescapable panic room to suffer the same fate but with added cannibalism and Ryan's grime music' option.
Put simply, ''Arachnids' has no pre-credits and a Trump impersonator bullying Sunita off Corrie, then a decent 15 minutes of intrigue and development of the companion's home lives and families, then a passable 15 minutes of Trump impersonator and literally just some spiders threatening 13 and Sunita off Corrie in a big but not as scenic as nightime Sheffield/Desolation desert/1950's Montgomery whilst the new 'Osgood' Jade helps the companions, then 13 lecturing Trump impersonator and everyone including the audience on a 'the enviroment/fracking underground/waste dumping landfills/
trigger-happy Americans/corporate corruption/pro-natural death not assisted on slowly and painfully dying beings/never harm spiders and other researched bugs'pests even if they literally threaten the lives of humans'; then a PERFECTLY WRITTEN/acted/presented final scene of the companions seeing their homes/families one more time before they go and tell the Doc they want to travel with her. Rating this is awkward then consistency-wise, but considering the companion's home/leaving scenes could've slotted into almost any adventure or early episode...it's the worst episode plot/characters yet and a generally weak one, with only a couple of amusing or dramatic moments and heavy on slower/dull and expository spider-chasing and topic-lecturing that even goes against the Doctor's own 'will make the hard decision and deal with dangerous beings himself with self-doubt and guilt if it's the less slow and painful and lives-threatening option, and not leave others to do it or leave them with any danger' morals.
And finally the next time trailer-13 and co find an ominously switched-on 'sonic mine' amongst junk, end up in the 'futuristic hospital with rumored pregnant male' from the Series trailer, and face a *automated voice* 'risk to life-ultimate' and something exploding alongside some serious-looking mostly non-white hospital staff and patients(including Brett Goldstein, Lois Chimimba and Suzanne Packer from the Series trailer-why wasn't Jade in it? Her part wasn't small or smaller than the others's). And the preview teaser-'we need to evacuate', 'they kill'(the mines?), shaky floor acting and a squinty worried Jodie'i can't quite see the solution'. Maybe put your glasses on before reading the script(sorry). The visuals look beautifully HD-shiny white/blue and futuristic. Maybe the guy patient isn't pregnant but somehow ingested one of the sonic mines and 13 refuses to just leave him to explode a safe distance from everyone else? And that's the Tsuranga Conundrum...the halfway point of Series 11 already! Don't know whether to be excited or sad...
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 5 'THE TSURANGA CONUNDRUM' REVIEW
Remember when we spent the last year guessing and spoilering what the new era of Doctor Who was going to be like? Well now we're halfway through it. Counting down to the finale in 5 episodes...
Me; LOL the opening dialogue as they search for some spare part the Doc wants in a massive space junkyard 'Couldn't have taken more than a month to find it last time. Anyway, who took you rainbathing in the upward tropics of Kinstarno? Might not be a needle in a haystack...'. As usual the Doctor's concept of time is rather bigger than the humans are ready for! And they've been on a holiday sometime between the last couple of eps? Good, i just said before 13 didn't seem to have as much fun or exploration as all the Doctors have had, but we need to see something like this onscreen! The show's not a galactic shopping list...
Ohh lol, Graham jinxed himself saying 'you'll be sorry if it's a bomb!' in 'Rosa' and now he's found one himself! And suddenly 13 whiplashes to deadly serious as she sees and tries to stop it *mine starts beeping* Doctor*horrified*'I'm sorry...' Graham 'What is it?' Doctor*tries to disable it with screwdriver* 'Sonic mine, hidden until we disturbed it. This is someone's idea of a nasty joke, if i can just...i can't stop the sensors!'. But she recognised it straightaway, so WHY did she just slowly explain what it was about to do and not tell the others to run for the nearby-ish TARDIS?! She could tell it would take 7 or 8 seconds! Still, GREAT scene here; 13 and co wake up in a futuristic hospital, the HD-worthy set/costumes and 'concussed' camera/subtle music is perfect, and we immediately get a sense of the medics Astos(Brett Goldstein) and Mabli(Lois Chimimba) as Mabli blames herself for not finding their non-existent-because-they're-from-another-time medical records and Astos reassures and explains to all including 13 (13's trying to figure out everything, take control and get her, the others and the TARDIS safe despite injury is such Doctorish characterisation!).
The behaviour and terminology of the medics is convincing. And more clear and uncontrived instant characterisation as the dazed group stumble across famous space pilot Eve Cicero(Suzanne Packer), her android assistant Ronan(David Shields) and space mechanic brother Durkas(Ben Bailey Smith). Eve scolds her younger brother and allows noisy fan-of-hers 13 and all her mates to barge in on their private conversation, Ronan firmly protects general Eve but defers to her and 13's authority and calmly ignores Durkas's jibes, and Durkas stops arguing and helps 13 and co but still shows worry and frustration toward his 'toughing it out' patient sister and cold but favoured android, and that's all in about 2 minutes!
And 13 is surprised and bashful meeting and recognising Eve, more 'enjoying the ride' and it's always interesting to see a FUTURE historical figure! And even better, Eve recognises the Doctor as having famously stuck their nose into some battle and 13 tries to avoid meddling with history('Me? Nah, it's a very common name' lol yeah right) but can't help some arrogant vanity('...I'd say it was more of a volume than a chapter though*grin*just so you know.*leaves*). This is what's needed- i like all of the companions, but for a moment i forgot them and just saw The Doctor. We need more focus and establishing of the MAIN CHARACTER the Doctor, especially with being so new and both her and the show being controversial; we've already had a few such scenes(mainly the enemy encounters e.g. the Stenza, arguing with and defeating the bog roll monsters, meeting Llin, tricking the racist cop, meeting and figuring out/overpowering Krasko), but 1 or 2 scenes per episode out of 15-odd is just not enough!
At least with those scenes Jodie has shown she's capable of successfully portraying a female Doctor just as Michelle Gomez portrayed a female Master. Hahaha sneaky foreshadowing- no exit signs, vibrations and faint machinery sounds, 'you can't leave/how you gonna leave' and the has-visited- 67th-century-before-but-barely 13 remembers what the Tsuranga is; a space ambulance! No exiting as the ambulance needs to get other patients to the hospital rightaway, the TARDIS left behind blending in a junkyard(like first ever ep!) where anyone might grab it/dismantle it(like Journey To Centre Tardis's scrap crew), and the 'some nasty joke' alien after the sonic mine and other valuable/ unusual machinery like an hi-tech/expensive space ambulance hitching a lift and threatening to dismantle the ship before it reaches the hospital, giving the group and patients just a couple of hours to find and stop it before they all get jettisoned into space! Yep, this plot, setting and cast are typical 'base under siege' fodder, and just as Ghost Monument had the twist of it being a space race/rally this has the twist of it being a space ambulance/tough space-dwelling creature that thus can't just be booted out the airlock. NEAT!
Uh oh, full 'Doctor in charge' mode engage as the confused 13 nearly damages the ship herself trying to pilot it back to the TARDIS('I'll give you privileges'sonics the controls lol)! Astos continues to be in control and helpful as he makes 13 realise she's endangering everyone else with her recklessness much like previous companions have shown the Doctor. Yep, the ship is course-set like a bus with stops pre-flight just so no interfering Doctors or aliens can sabotage it, they'll just have to survive till they get back to the hospital 'depot'! Great urgent electro music and CGI view of the ship in space here! Oh crap the ship already used it's one 'emergency course break' rescuing 13 and co from that usually-abandoned junkyard/dumping ground and got hijacked by it's native machinery-eating alien in the process, Astos having done 37 safe trips probably won't help this time...
Yep one of the patients is a pregnant guy, hang on another 'looks/sounds human but isn't'? I can see why this one had to be, but he's a different kind to both the racers in Monument and we've had at least a few other kinds in prior series, plus we need more non-human looking/non-object looking aliens in this particular series too! At least give some small sign they're alien, or have some of them be the same kind of alien so we get to see a race multiple times. Anyway, the handling of this is a unremarkable but ok Who-twist on the typical 'pregnant person panics and goes into labor at wrong time/place' cliche. In fact, this whole 'main character and 2 guys/1 girl, pregnant person who needs advice/help from mains having baby and non-white person trapped and arguing in hospital as time runs out and small/cute-ish but havoc-causing creature chews through the area/vents, then there is an explosion and sensible older guy is killed, episode ends with characters reacting and surrounding a body' scenario is basically the plot of Primeval Series 3 episode 3!
Lol the Doc listening to the ship with an actual stethoscope and getting past Astos's trying-to-stay-calm lies('I'm the Doctor''Are you kidding''Sometimes-but not right now').Hang on-Jodie's pulling yet ANOTHER 'bit surprised/mouth hanging open/shrug'. She is playing a very old and experienced and passionate character, so why the continual dopey faces? Oh, aiming for 100'000 trips and Mabli's only on her second, perhaps 37 isn't so experienced after all. More good dialogue and music here as they go investigate the intruder- Doctor 'You know these territories, what can it be?'(only 37 trips...) 'I don't like being told what to do' *Astos amused*'Yeah, i'm getting that impression'. Drat, Mabli tries to check on Astos but is distracted and intimidated by android Ronan into supplying extra Adrenaline Blockers to Eve instead, whilst Graham catches Durkas searching for her medical records (Durkas 'Should i deny everything...or ask you to turn a blind eye?', 'I'm a mechanic, fix the things pilots like my control freak sister tend to wreck, and she looks down on me for it!'; great how 5 different new characters are being character developed quite casually/belivably whilst we also have a neat contrast as 13 and Astos investigate opposite corridors and relay to each other over Com-dot communications.
Nice tension beat here. Power drained, oh crap why is the other lifepod(lifeboat) gone?
Astos*bit scared* 'I think it's here, Doctor, in the life pod.' *door opens by itself, but nothing is in the tiny/ nowhere-to-hide lifepod. Astos reaches to fix the last lifepod before anything happens and the patients are left stranded with the possible danger.*
Doctor 'We need you safe too Astos, do not engage with i-'*as Astos leans into the lifepod the door suddenly closes on him and the lifepod starts sparking and malfunctioning.*
Astos 'No no no no! *is forced away from door as sparks fly*
Automatic voice 'Lifepod is disengaging, please put on restraint straps now.'
Doctor*hears chaos over comms, urgent* 'Astos, what's happening?'
Astos*checks the controls, tries to sound calm/reassuring* 'Rookie mistake. The lifepod is being jettisoned and the internal controls have been broken...*looks around desperately*...and i'm inside.'
Doctor 'Hold on, i'm coming!'*running down corridor holding injured side*
Astos*controls electrocute him and send him falling to the floor* No!
Automatic voice 'Systems malfunctioning. Currently unavailable. Evacuation critical.'
Astos*grabs restraint strap, looking terrified, then hurriedly taps his comms* Mabli? Mabli!
Mabli*handing over the last adrenaline blockers to the cold android* 'Astos? Hang on, i'm*glances at Ronan guiltily*with a patient, do you need something?*Ronan looks curious and Mabli confused as the Doctor runs past*
Astos*looks round for a way out as through lifepod window ship is visible moving away, no sign of any intruder* '...I'm sorry Mabli, it tricked me.*hesitant* I can't get back.'
Mabli*concerned, urgent* 'What are you talking about? Get back from where?'
Astos*tries to be brave* 'You can do this, Mabli.*smiles weakly* You're good enough.*voice drops with fear and hopelessness*
*Mabli hears chaos over comms and the fear in Astos's voice and thinks, starts to look scared*
Astos*just sitting there as lifepod shakes* I believe in you...*remembers him and her and everyone safe on the ship just a minute ago, looks back*...i always have.'*Suddenly Mabli grabs wall as corridor starts shaking- and the lifepod falls away from the ship and explodes.*
Doctor 'Argh!'*is thrown to floor as corridor shakes, then stills. She desperately taps the comms Astos gave her.* 'Astos? Astos!' *listens to comms and just hears static feedback.*
Mabli*hears static feedback and looks shocked and scared as android Ronan steadies her and himself* '...Astos?' *hurriedly shoves the medicine into Ronan's arms and stumbles off down the corridor as he stumbles back.*
Well damn. Good twist effectively killing off the most reasonable/reliable new character just 15 minutes in! Noticably great direction here too to maximize tension/urgency/drama and show off the actor's performances without being over the top/soppy. And the music's going from electronic, to tension-filled, to crescendo as the lifepod explodes, to silence except for ship sounds and the characters reacting, to subtly dangerous as the Doctor and the catching-up/no-idea-what's-going-on others have their panicked questions silenced as they see there is an hostile alien intruder- already realised this with Woman Who Fell To Earth and Rosa but again i am so relieved that the new composer is Segun Akinola(never even heard of the guy before this). Anyway, FINALLY we get a second obviously-alien-not-human-or-usually-mundane-thing as the remaining ill/inexperienced characters watch the Doctor face the thing that killed Astos...
...and another twist! We already had a civilised and evil prosthetic alien in Episode 1- now it's time for a not malevolent but completely feral CGI alien. It turns out the junkyard-dwelling intruder is a little gremlin-like creature called a P'Ting, that feeds on energy and power and so was attracted to the exploded sonic mine and powerful ship, got in via the lifepods(eating their power sources and unintentionally causing them to malfunction and explode with Astos inside) and is now eating it's way towards the ship's main engine and has to be stopped before the same thing happens to the entire ship and it's inhabitants. The problem of it being too fast/full of toxic rubbish to catch and able to survive and keep being attracted to the Tsuranga if they jettison it is the unexpectedly harmless looking but still dangerous 'Tsuranga Conundrum'- and good news if you're fed up of 13 sonicing/ scanning everything EVERY episode, as the P'Ting introduces itself to the Doctor by eating her sonic when she tries to scan it!
Lol 'It ate me'Sonic!' that'll teach her to sonic everything(bad luck if you don't like the sonic's design as apparently the P'Ting doesn't either and spits it back out albeit out of power and unusable). There is some annoying mood whiplash here as the camera zooms out to reveal the alien backside-first and all the companions aren't shocked or concerned or angry like 13 and Mabli at Astos's death or the news that they are trapped TARDISless with a feral alien, and just look mildly curious/unbothered (Yas-what even is it?/Graham-it just kinda ignored ya there Doc/Ryan-it has nerve). Thankfully Jodie makes up for this;
Mabli*runs in, followed by companions* 'Where's Astos? What's goin o-*sees the P'Ting*-oh my saints!'
Doctor*talking urgently and quetly so as not to provoke creature'I don't know what it is, but's very dangerous. It jettisoned the life pods...*looks at Mabli, upset and hesitates* ...and it killed Astos.' Mabli*dumbly horrified and shocked* '..What?'
Doctor*serious* 'I'm sorry Mabli. But it's up to us to get us safely back to Resus One now.'*turns to the P'Ting with barely restrained anger* 'And YOU, back into space, off this ship, now- or else you'll have ME to deal with!' *the P'Ting scrutinises her like a animal judging a threat, then suddenly roars at her ferally with a echoing, gaping maw full of teeth. The Doctor is startled and warily leans back whilst pulling out the sonic, glaring at it the whole time.*
Doctor*talking aloud* 'Hit the ship from the depths of space, so can survive a vacuum...' *slowly aims the sonic at it* '...doesn't need oxygen, and can digest pretty much anything it wants.'
Lol more childishness as Jodie reacts to the P'Ting's attitude and eating/depowering her sonic. Gee Ronan 'I think there may have been an incident' in calm android voice, no really? The actor's doing good, completely emotionless and steady-moving at all times but little inflections/looks; like here a slight reassuring/brace yourself look to General Eve, issuing a subtle but firm threat to Mabli to comply earlier and very slight surprise/impatience as he told off/questioned Doc and co breaking in to Eve's room earlier so we don't have two complete vacuums in this episode! 'A P'Ting has never been captured or killed due to it's toxic nature and ability to chew through any material that would incarcerate it- yeah it might not eat us, but it will eat the ship we're on' helpful as ever Graham lol. Developing of Eve/Durkas/Ronan's characters, good...cliche 'panicking/fussy pregnant person' Yoss comedy subplot...the situation reminding Ryan of him own parents/family and causing him to tell Yas a bit whilst they're waiting for the Doc to...oh yeah, 'I need 7 minutes to think'. Why? All she does in a minute is tell Eve/Durkas/Ronan/Yoss of Astos's death and the P'Ting, not have any solutions or suggestions ready, and in the meantime we have to wait for a comedy subplot and an overlong/ unearnt or revealed confession(Ryan*tells Yas his whole life story from Mum to Dad to Nan* Why am i even telling you this anyway?' *uncomfortable*).
It's not the cast's fault but yet again the expository/facts and schedule-style writing, Tosin Cole does fine delivering this important scene. Also, why is it always males paired/females paired/older characters paired? 13 and Ryan/Graham and Yasmin have had few to no one-on-one scenes together 5 episodes in now, and the rest of this ep just has Graham/Ryan AGAIN and 13/Yasmin again. Anyway, more Doctorish dialogue as 13 calls everyone together('bit poirot, sorry' lol, but you can't mean David Suchet's version as you had him in Series 10!) and brainstorms with Mabli and Eve('This is just a problem that needs a solution, a patient that needs medicine- you're a medic, i'm the Doctor. Whole worlds pivot on acts of imagination, so just imagine an answer!' 'What are you imagining then?' 'Broadly, i'm imagining that thing off this ship. Specifically...', Mabli warning 13 that if Resus One find out they're bringing a dangerous/hostile creature to the hospital full of vunerable patients they will remotely blow them up to prevent this plus suggesting 13 check Eve's illness since she can't directly tell her about it due to patient confidentiality, General Eve helping organise everyone and pilot the ship despite the P'Ting's damage to it plus find tasers to stun it, Ronan warning Eve the adrenaline blocker he got hold of and adminstered to her was the ship's last one and fearing for his boss and friend's life).
*as Mabli leaves to look after pregnant* 'Right now, i'm imagining you sorting this all out' 13*not sounding optimistic* 'Yeah, me too' lol. Yoss goes into 'cliche having the baby at exactly the wrong time/place' and asks fellow blokes Ryan and Graham to stay as he has no family/friends present, and to be fair this episode already has so many guest characters to characterise/the plot to deal with that constantly utilising and developing THREE companions as well is a ridiculous ask. But why couldn't this have just been a Doctor-only episode? 13 has had the safety-net/rival screentimers of the group there literally since the first second of Episode 1 and this combined with her nicer nature means she's had few really serious/sole responsibility moments and giving her just one adventure to convince any reluctant viewers earlier on before they give up/get bored would both benefit Jodie greately, show off more of this new and first female incarnation and give the viewers/companions a bit of breathing space.
Luckily, there is a solution to this; just fast-forward past the 5 or 6 companion scenes and comedy pregnant subplot and you have a Thirteenth-Doctor solo adventure(previous examples like The Deadly Assasin and Heaven Sent went down very well). And here's more focus on 13- lol 'ah, 67th century, bit tricky in the middle but turns out ok in the end' and 'I don't know how to pilot this ship, oh i knew i should've spend more time in the 67th century!' just casually dropping knowledge of the future and time travel on a usually-in-control and incredulous Eve. Quick admiration of a historical invention not figure as 13 explains/fangirls the anti-matter engine to Yas, could've just explained it to Mabli and Yoss instead though sans companions. At least 13's acting and the quicker scene and music here feel less lectury/expository than Rosa's endless scenes/ending(more understandable but still damagingly overdone) or Arachnids's multiple anti-pollution/anti-assisted death scenes, same goes for the more natural interaction between reluctant dad Yoss and supportive/learning-to appreciate-family's-own-struggles Ryan.
Ah, android Ronan has better reflexes to catch the P-Ting and can touch it without being poisoned a'la Steel immune to Poison in Pokemon videogames; but has to face the danger(he could still be airlocked like Astos or blown up by the last-resort-if- ship-sabotaged bomb), protect the ship's engine and capture the P'Ting on his own(whilst Eve and Durkas pilot and mend the ship respectively and 13 deals with the bomb) despite his whole existence being to assist others not have independent actions/feelings like fear for his own safety(alone and afraid when he hears the bomb go off and ship being piloted whilst left guarding the engine). See this could've been a chance for 13 to demonstrate Doctorish-rallying people abilities and encouraging independent thought/enjoyment of the universe/ well-meaning deeds- but instead we just have Yas bundling up the P-Ting in a blanket and kicking it like a football thus making it's threat to poisoning her and outmanouvering everyone look RIDICULOUS and 13 comedically picking a lower number for the bomb to go off and doing more explain-the-plot/answer questions to her! Gah!
At least the solution is neat and effective; the P'Ting feeds on energy/power and can thus have it's appetite sated by eating the exploding bomb and then being airlocked itself whilst distracted so the ship can get away and land safely(it spitting out the Doctor's eaten-but-depowered sonic wasn't just convienient non-destroying-a-vital-part/character plot armor, it was foreshadowing that it only eats energy not everything or people! And it didn't attack the lifepods first because it knew they were vital to the cast/Astos was by one, it just wanted their independant and easily-reachable power sources!). See that's how you avoid the Doc having to kill/destroy an enemy, not just by locking them in a room to die/suffocate/starve/mutate or letting a new companion shoot them elsewhere without any concern/disaproval despite repeatedly scolding them for playing Call Of Duty with target-range bots!
Of course with the Doc and Ronan stopping the P'Ting and bomb plus the distracting and clashingly light/cringy pregnant subplot, this leaves Eve and Durkas to get the T'Suranga safely to Resus One despite ship damage(ignoring the asteroid field as why would a universal hospital with constant urgent traffic/patients locate itself in such a dangerous place? They have futuristic weaponry as used in battle by Eve and expendable 'when service is over we shutdown' tough androids to protect from danger/attackers). More possible story arc development too- the 67th century's 'dangerous times' for Giftan pregnancies and Keeba pilots Battle Of The Underkind against the Ayonians, plus the future mentioned in Rosa with Krasko being a 51st century criminal/terrorist, plus Ghost Monument's war against Ep1's Stenza, Albarian and Multeran fugitives/ hostaged scientists and 'abandoned unknowning outcast Timeless Child', unintrusive universe building and benefits these eps if it ends up leading somewhere/paying off!
Again though, why does EVERY SINGLE RACE have to be A.brand new and B.look/sound/act human?
Anyway, Durkas and Eve's characterisation as Durkas discovers his sister's illness and tries to put on a brave face helping her with the ship and Eve confesses her illness to 13 with stethoscope and apologises to her brother/is happy to be able to do what she loves again flying the Tsuranga is all-round excellently done. The setting continues to impress too as more dramatic/touching electronic music and CGI of Resus One/the ship landing/the animalistic P'Ting; and the ship being piloted via a Virtual-Reality type controller visor/ gloves setup along with Eve's 'Pilots's Heart' condition and arrogance/unsocialness in her ability and willingness to do it again despite the dangers provides a VERY subtle/show-not-tell commentary both on letting videogames/computers/technology affect your relationships and health and how terminal illness can affect your career/capability and how everyone percieves/treats you.
And you can't expect the Doctor and companions to just do everything for you either- 13 races back to the siblings after stopping the bomb and P'Ting to find Eve dead from her heart giving out during the piloting and Durkas having to step into the piloting hharness and request emergency landing assistance from the hospital now Eve has safely got them to it. Durkas and Eve's final scene together is touching and the episode's end with Ronan discovering Eve's death and recieving respect from the usually-teasing/jealous of him Durkas as he leads a prayer over Eve's body, and the Doctor and companions staying for this alongside Mabli/Yoss and the incident investigators's questions over Astos and Eve's deaths before they go back to the TARDIS is a touching ending.
Overall 'The Tsuranga Conundrum' is an all-rounder GREAT episode; the guest cast are both memorable actors and well written/characterised, the gender/race representation is more balanced with Yoss, Astos, Eve, Mabli, Durkas and Ronan all having flaws/doubts and good intentions/actions, the setting and CGI looks gorgeous, the soundtrack always fits and adds to the situation and the plot is a typical entertaining Who 'base under siege'runaround with an unusual alien and many non-drawn out pro-life/optimism moments. The only weaknesses are unexpectedly the companions as they take a backseat with just a few lighter scenes, and with all prior episodes and the next one all giving them plenty of characterisation sometimes at the expense of the episode's own plot/cast having one break-the-monotony ep focusing on strengthening itself over the series arc is welcome (and indeed could've been a chance to strengthen the MAIN and controversial new Doctor, damn).
So that's episode 5 of Doctor Who Series 11, counting down to the finale! Here's a quick breakdown/update as to what we've had so far-
Ep 1 'The Woman Who Fell To Earth'(good title) modern Sheffield, starring Sharon D Clarke(nicer non-white female Grace O'Brien), Samuel Oatley(nastier alien male T'zim Sha), Jonny Dixon(nicer white male Carl), Amit Shah(nicer non-white male Rahul), and various nicer non-white males/white females. Great plot, team, acting, alien and soundtrack, good Doctor and visuals.
Ep 2 'The Ghost Monument'(good title) modern planet, starring Susan Lynch(nicer white female Angstrom), Shaun Dooley(nastier white male Epzo) and Art Malik(non-white male Llin). Great visuals and acting, good plot, team and soundtrack, eh Doctor, weak alien/villain.
Ep 3 'Rosa'(good title) past America, starring Vinette Robinson(nicer non-white female/historical figure Rosa Parks), Joshua Bowman(nastier ? white male Krasko), Trevor White(nastier white male/historical figure James Blake), and various nastier white males. Great visuals, acting, Doctor, villain and soundtrack, good team, eh plot.
Ep 4 'Arachnids In The Uk'(weak title) modern Sheffield, starring Chris Roth(nastier white male Jack Robertson), Tanya Fear(nicer non-white female Jade Macintyre) and Shobna Gulati(nicer non-white female Najia Khan), and various nicer female/male characters. Good acting, team, Doctor and villain,
eh plot, visuals and alien.
Ep 5 'The Tsuranga Conundrum'(good title) future spaceship, starring Suzanne Packer(nicer non-white female Eve Cicero), Lois Chimimba(nicer non-white female Mabli), Brett Goldstein(nicer non-white male Astos), Ben Bailey Smith(nicer non-white male Durkas Cicero), David Shields(nicer white male Ronan), and Jack Shaloo(nicer white male Yoss). Great acting, visuals, soundtrack and plot, good alien/villain and Doctor, weak team.
And Episodes 6, 7 and 8- 'Demons Of The Punjab'(good title), 'Kerblam!'(eh title) and 'The Witch Finders'(eh title), then penultimate Ep 9 and finale Ep 10! See you next episode!(hopefully)
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 6 'DEMONS OF THE PUNJAB' REVIEW
Aaannnddd here's the first episode of Series 11 not written or rewritten by showrunner Chris Chibnall(!), and by a new Who writer(Vinay Patel)! The episode starts rather abruptly, as Yaz's grandmother Umbreen(Leena Dhingra) and Yaz's spend Umbreen's birthday exposition-dumping her story- 'it's your birthday', 'first woman married in Pakistan', 'did you know this', 'first Muslim woman to work in South Yorkshire textile mill', 'Grandad taking you dancing every Wednesday night', 'these letters Grandad wrote when away','my favourite grandaughter Yasmin'(in front of sis Sonya, nice), 'Grandad's broken watch, must never be fixed', 'your life's our heritage in India''she lived in Lahore in the 50's'... 'I have such stories i could tell you when you're older' I AM OLDER NOW! No more...
Mandip Gill continues to put in a decent performance as Yaz, natural and interested in things, and adding to the 'companion family' trope with Yaz's gran('now it's my birthday and i'm in a wheelchair having shop-brought cake' lol) works. Problem is we've already seen the 'interested/curious/pushy/ wants adventure and challenge young female with helping-people job' plot in just the last couple of series with Clara, only now minus any humor('mexican lady/i'll pinata you' aside) or stunts/big actions(visiting past-era family and kicking a tiny alien down a corridor isn't exactly a stunt or big action!). Also, throughout this entire episode NONE of the companions disobey or refuse the Doc's 'mustn't change history' stance even in the worst moments, and there is literally NO mention of Grace or her past death at all! Just last ep Graham and Ryan mentioned her, but this whole series and no even THOUGHT of saving or just seeing her again despite 'I've got so much to tell you'?
So 13 agrees to take Yaz to see her gran younger to find out what secrets and stories she doesn't want to tell. Yep that's not disrespectful to her own nan's privacy and feelings, or threatening to her existence/life/timeline, as well as her close friends visiting another racially/socially/politically violent time with AGAIN no change of clothes or attitude or interference whatsoever, and endangering her family's and her own timeline/lives/privacy, for literally no reason other than 'she just showed me this broken watch and i want to know why it mustn't be fixed'. And that's definetely a good reason compared to prior ep 'Fathers Day''s 'my dad died young, alone, and my mum told me how great he was and how much she misses him/our life was affected, so can i just see him before he dies and maybe pose as a bystander so he isn't dying in pain alone'...
'Like none of our other trips have ever been risky''way beyond my comprehension-ta, i only hang around here to be insulted' LOL Graham! Quick use of the TARDIS's telepathic circuits, nice, and 13's thoughtful figuring out of Yaz's request(tells Graham not to call 'her'(the TARDIS) a thing lol) too. 'Death-eyed turtle army'? Ok, more offscreen. I would say it's good to see the new TARDIS interior again after one bit in ep4 and ep3 and stranded elsewhere in ep5, but A.still not a fan of it at all and B.the ENTIRE scene is shot zoomed in within a foot or so of everyone's faces/brief glimpses of the levers. Why?
Ok music so far, just a subtle nicer-feeling hum that is unmemorable but backs the scenes nicely- oh, nice sudden 'vision' hitting 13 there! Doctor is supposed to have slight psychic abilities and nice 'abrupt/monochrome/static' style, but the blurry flash of spiky aliens there didn't look good. Ok, so they're getting a ride to nan Umbreen's place from local guy Prem(Shane Zaza)(lol his deciding whether or not to trust them), convienient the translator lets them all understand each other and it's only late 1940's so their clothes and 'British' identities aren't too anachronistic. Lol the old priest guy walking instead thinking them lazy for not doing so despite youth/fitness, oh now one of the ominous aliens is watching him. Nice direction so far!
Yaz, don't go rushing in giving away your true identity and hugging complete stranger Umbreen! 'distant relative wedding guests' excuse and no psychic paper cause no need for an 'official' id/pass, good. 13 just stands there and pulls a stupid face but does nothing when Yaz rushes off again, sigh. Nice subtle radio giving background on setting/local events there! Meet Umbreen's nice but strict mum Hasna(Shazeen Khan) and Prem's stubborn little brother Manesh(Hamza Jeetooa), the cast do convince as a family unit. And a mystery/problem; Prem and Umbreen are getting married, but Prem isn't Yaz's grandad and the nan never mentioned him? Also, lol Manesh putting the border marker so that Hasna's house is now in another country, but also nice subtle building of the arguements and fears over the Partition Of India without lecturing/caricaturing it.
And the aliens are standing over the priest's corpse, cool 'stay away' threat/warning echoey vocals. Prem fires at them good, interesting twisty teleport effect(bit Harry Potter Apparating), Graham continuing to be helpful guessing the dust the aliens left on the priest is some sort of poison. Pity 13 has to deny that using the sonic, SHE BUILT IT FROM SPOONS and a b it of alien teleport how is it a poison/substances identifier?! Lol the team running towards the 'demons!', neat that Graham and Yaz FINALLY have ONE scene together after telling Umbreen her vicar has been killed whilst 13/Ryan and Prem confront the demons. Oh...Graham's speech here reassuring Yaz pointing out how we don't know the complete truth of our/or family'friend's lives from the inside and how lucky they are to be looking in from the outside here thanks to the TARDIS is succinct and touching, and no hint of lecture or facts/orders/personal bias; seriously Bradley Walsh continues to be the most understandable and effective companion by a mile!
And Yaz is just like 'better not tell nan she won't believe it lol!' to this and blank stare/tries to walk away when 13 warns her of putting herself and family in danger treading on own timeline, really? Ryan hasn't had anything to do sure, but at least he hasn't interfered with anyone and has reacted to things(advising Graham not to 'sing old classics' at wedding lol, dumbstruck and impressed at being alien teleported into big spaceship, i think changing clothes into just white t-shirt in background at one point?, 'bagsy not chicken poo' when 13 tells them to find ingredients for poison-testing kit lol). It's not Mandip Gill's fault, just that her character is kinda shallow/does nothing except the odd question or bossy/self-motivated'righteous interference and giving ALL four main regulars consistent characterisation and screentime every episode seems too much of an ask, plus we've already had several strongly characterised/acted younger English-speaking 21st-century visiting female companions.
Ah a good look at the alien Thajarian assasins, not bad but a bit generic/bland design wise. Still their personalities/voices are clear, and good plot development/staging as 13 steals and tests their dust/powder container and keeps them away from the wedding by confiscating and using their own teleports lol! Also lol 13 now of course joining the women's hen night sleepover instead of men's, Jodie is very good at being awkward 'references to body/gender regeneration in jest, such a comedian', but her acting/personality and the scripted behaviour outside of generic yet reliable 'adventure/rebellion' moments just isn't Doctory at all, and you've got over 50 years of characterisation to inspire you so how?! Meanwhile Prem reveals he's seen the Thajarans before killing his and Manesh's older brother in The Battle Of Singapore, explaining Manesh's awkward hostility/resentment and hope that the Partition will fix the state of things; honestly this 'living in the time' look at the situation is done so well, Prem and Manesh on opposing sides yet both still quite understandable and uncaricatured as human beings, plus no sign of other eps's 'nastier whites' or 'females nicer' or 'lecturing/political overshadowing Who'.
And again 13 is wrong/interfering/assuming'biased-turns out the Thajarans are actually 'priests' in a way themselves, that lost their homeworld in war whilst being assassins and have now renounced their past and are going round scattering the dust ashes of their home and watching over similar war casualties like the dying-alone of the Partition! The idea of alien 'guardians' trying to help by being there if you die alone and keeping record/tribute/memory of you is beautiful, and the use of 'helpful aliens' adds more variety to Series 11 alongside the 'dumb/animalistic' danger of the P'Ting and Kerblam bots and 'sentient/malicious' nature of the Stenza, whilst the cables/bog roll/Krasko/racists/
big spiders/Robertson/Charlie fit into the 'everyday human/object made hostile' category.
And more good plot staging/escalation- the priest must have just died of old age alone in the forest then like the older brother died alone of war wounds right? Nope- the impressionable young Manesh has been converted to being a nationalist on the other side during the events of Partition and absence of his older brothers at war plus loss of older brother, and is helping a group of men take over people's land/possessions including his family's house in the belief that their conviction and brute strength is what's needed in the uncertain times; with the nature of Prem and Umbreen's cross-religion marriage he argued with the priest to not do the wedding and ended up killing the old man. 13 races to warn Prem and Umbreen and Hasna, has to officiate the wedding herself as a 'Doctor' is the only official individual they have around right now(Doctor does a companion family wedding? Cool!), and in the confusion Yaz's nan's watch(originally worn by Prem, more nice direction) is broken as history unfolds with the team parpicitating.
And following all this is the final twist- the Thajarians are here not just to watch over the priest but Prem, whose death today means Yaz's gran is a widow and ends up meeting Yaz's grandad and settling in Sheffield. Yaz takes this news by not arguing, telling anyone or even spending time with grandad-in-law Prem, whilst strangers Graham and Ryan help an unknowing and disturbed by events Prem prepare for his wedding and reassure him(Prem's 'events focusing on our differences not similarities' comment and Graham's sad 'you're a good man' is yet more poignant and effective without being contrived). 13 confronts Manesh and finds him ready with his brother's rifle to join the movement, but due to not changing history is powerless to stop him as he dismisses the oddly knowing stranger and heads out.
The episode ends with young nan Umbreen forced to say goodbye to her love and new husband Prem and flee their home with Hasna, whilst Prem tries to stop the men harming them or taking the house and reason with his little brother. The Thajarans appear and tell the team they will take over now(plus the team's strange looks/clothes/nationalities/attitiudes would likely make things worse); and Manesh looks after himself as the men shoot Prem dead and carry on, and the Thajarans accompany his dying body as they did for the priest. The direction and music here is not overblown but enough to make a simple small group of humans with guns seem an insurmountable foe, and 13 having to walk away as they hear a gunshot and the Thajarans recording Prem in their memory banks- which are then shown to be full of hundreds if not thousands of war casualties- is a memorable and perfectly edited/scored moment.
Unfortunately the ending is just as abrupt as the beginning- Yaz tells Umbreen she went to a wedding whilst literally in the exact clothes young Umbreen saw her in and suddenly not interested in the watch or any stories at all and yet Umbreen shows no sign whatsoever of confusion or recognition or anything(and hasn't Yaz's sister/mum/dad mentioned Yaz's odd new friends or the spiders etc in any even passing way?), and then THEN THE END CREDITS ARE HIJACKED BY SOCIAL-POLITICAL MUSIC AGAIN GAHHH. This hijacking of the episode/credits is slightly less annoying in that the tune is amusingly some sort of Indian remix of the Who tune, but the trend of abrupt/unexplained/team randomly interfering repetitive openings/endings is a little tiresome and there's no need for the lack of a pre-credits sequence to guarantee this.
And that's 'Demons Of The Punjab'. In terms of historical episodes it's unusual in that no historical figure appears and the Thajarans make no difference to proceedings aside from confusing 13 and co,
whereas Rosa has a historical figure and it's 'alien' only fails to interfere due to 13 and could easily pass for a human of the time/place. The historical issue/subject matter is in my opinion handled better than Rosa easily; literally every moment from Prem meeting and being wary of the strangers to his family's varied attitudes to the times(Prem just wants everyone to live, Umbreen wants to resist both the movement and tradition and do what she wants, Manesh believes the movement will order and fix things and will reluctantly betray for it, and Hasna wishes the old traditional order and avoidance of cross-religion marriages could return), to the inspirational lecture and music and behaviour-lacking finale builds a picture of a moment in history i knew basically nothing about without any of the characters seeming forced and the setting/visuals/music all convincing and well put together.
Kudos in particular to Amita Suman and Hamza Jeetooa for their more emotive performances(and Jeetooa's more convincing portrayl of a converted and rounded youth than Charlie next ep), and Bradley Walsh getting a couple of effective moments. 13, Yaz and Ryan meanwhile are all present but serve basically no purpose; the Thajarans are similar to Xmas 2017's Testimony(aliens who make avatars/interactive copies'holograms of people at the time of their death) but better designed and much better utilised with less interference in or judgement of Who characters or events. In all 'Demons' is a rather simple but still effective historical that doesn't require or info-dump knowledge or caring about either Who characters/events or historical events/people(coming from someone who didn't care about any of that or the trailer) and a nice enough episode!
Ep 7 'Demons Of The Punjab'(good title) 1940's India, starring Shane Zaza(nicer non-white male Prem), Hamza Jeetooa(nastier non-white male Manesh), Amita Suman(nicer non-white female Umbreen), Shaheen Khan(slightly nastier non-white female Hasna), Leena Dhingra(nicer non-white female Nani Umbreen), and a couple of nastier/nicer fellow non-white soldiers. Great visuals, good plot, acting, villain and soundtrack, eh alien, team and Doctor.
And the writers so far; Chris Chibnall(showrunner, Ep 1 'Woman Fell' and Ep 5 'Tsuranga' great, Ep 3 'Rosa' co-writer not bad, Ep 2 'Monument' and 4 'Arachnids' eh), Malorie Blackman(new, Ep 3 'Rosa' co-writer not bad), Vinay Patel(new, Ep 6 'Demons' not bad) and Pete Mctighe(new, Ep 7 'Kerblam!' not bad). RUMORS/SPOILERS; Finale Ep 10 is called 'The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos'(weak title!) and stars Mark Addy with a gun and Phyllis Logan with face tattoos in a shadowy street(sounds a bit dull both story and visual-wise, like if S9's Face The Raven was the finale), whilst Ep 9 'It Takes You Away'(eh title) stars Kevin Eldon and Eleanor Wallwork in a boarded-up smoking Norwegian cottage(possibly an unusual/interesting haunting house runaround?).
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 7 'KERBLAM!' REVIEW
Welcome! To! This! Week's! Doctor! Who! Review! The episode starts abruptly with 13 having trouble controlling the TARDIS again('still getting the hang of it' you've been regenerated and ok for at least a month or two now and flying for countless years before that!) and fangirling over the 'space postman' Kerblam! and it's motto 'Kerblam! it'. There's a subtle in-joke here if you've seen the Matt Smith episodes, as the postman's delivery turns out to be a fez that Doc 11 ordered('i should buy a fez', guess he did but took a while to get the delivery lol!'). Ryan gets more development as his day job experience at a warehouse comes in handy(the delivery slip says 'help me'? Nah it'll just be a prank, like what we got up to' lol), and Yaz spots an odd message on the delivery slip and convinces 13 they should go investigate.
The location/setting/effects this ep is massive and distinctive, as the group go to the package's deliverer Kerblam!'s headquarters; a gigantic warehouse on the planet Kandoka's moon, decorated in it's own red/white colour scheme and manned by more of the Kerblam! men robots. The Kerblam! man's design is commercial-looking and vaguely creepy and functions/vocalises convincingly, whilst the soundtrack continues to give each episode it's own music with this ep having the easy-to- remember Kerblam! brief jingle/motif.
13 uses the psychic paper(good to see that again!) and sonic to convince Head Of Personnel Judy Maddox(Julie Hesmondhalgh) that they're new workers(psychic paper claims they're relatives of the First Lady, lol even the paper likes to blow the Doctor's trumpet. But why doesn't this/13's blatant pointing the sonic at the computer literally under Judy's nose then it suddenly records them when a second ago it had no record of them seem suspicious?!). There's more little references to move things along as the staff medical notices 13's two hearts('healthcare system, being related to First Lady has perks), they get given house-arrest style anklet Loops to record any bad behaviour or problems, are told the rules by the VERY talkative Judy(13's disappointment at not being allowed to get on the conveyor belt lol), and split up to search the place for the sender of the 'help' message(Ryan 'i've got experience working in a warehouse in the People's Republic Of Yorkshire' and Graham 'so what do i do?*Kerblam! bot gives him bucket and mop*Welcome to Premium Maintenence, Graham! LOL!).
So far the episode is doing it's best with the visual/musical style and amusing lines to liven things up, but nevertheless the 'go work in a warehouse' premise is a bit dull and drawn out as every stage of the process is explained/expositioned. 13 and Ryan meet fellow worker Kira Arlo(Claudia Jessie)(you can do this, Kira Arlo-dialogue spelling all out) and insecure boss Jarvis Slade(Callum Dixon), whilst Yaz investigates the warehouse aisles with friendly worker and dad Dan Cooper(Lee Mack, a more recognisable guest!)(happy at getting poster boy status but depressed at thought that daughter's gift chain will outlast him lol); then Kira tells 13 that a couple of staff have left and not gone home, and Yaz is bewildered when Dan insists on doing her basement-level shift instead of her.
Turns out that's where staff have gone missing, and Dan's reluctance to send the new girl down there backfires on him as he finds one of the Kerblam! bots unresponsive; Yaz hears him scream and goes down there only to be forced to flee with Dan's dropped chain when the bots suddenly start ambushing her. The way the situation escalates from ominous uncanny-bots and Dan's caginess to the bot suddenly grabbing Dan as he goes to tell the others to Yaz's dawning suspicion as she finds the chain on the floor but no screaming Dan and the bots ignore her queries and simply start advancing towards her is obvious but very effective.
Meanwhile, Graham introduces the group to Kira's admirer Charlie Duffy(Leo Flanagan)(lol no handshake 'cause just cleaned toilets) and 13/Yaz/Ryan confront Judy and Slade with the hushed-up missing staff and news of Dan's disappearence. At around this point the oddly dumbed-down presentation becomes completely obvious; deputy Judy and boss Slade going quiet whilst complete strangers and new workers 13 and co lecture them and do a trailer-esque group shot('too bombastic?' even acknowledging silliness of this), Charlie's literal falling at Kira's feet whilst group watch and comment like tourists(Graham 'i have a social superpower' Charlie 'woah, really? Have you smelt Kira?' Graham 'Strangely enough, no' lol, but really dialogue?!), Slade bullying Kira/13/Judy yet going quiet and stopping interaction the moment his new employee 13 starts lecturing him twice, 13 responding to her blatant interfering and 'bet Doc was the kind of kid who poked bees nest to see what happens' joke with a completely straight faced 'I don't like bullies or secrets' lecture etc.
It just all feels a bit contrived and dull despite the potential of the bots and lines(brief reference to Agatha Christie+bees 2008 ep!), and it continues. Graham very slowly asking a question and literally spelling things out with his hands to Charlie like a game of Charades(G says he's 310 or something? Counting from 2018 i guess, and he isn't questioned?), the whole group stealing stuff right in front of the bots Yaz heard ambush Dan and barely escaped TWICE('don't mind us, nothing to see here' right to it's face whilst holding the stolen thing), 'The Doctor' doing nothing herself (psychic paper/sonic/companions made excuses earlier, Ryan helps infiltrate the place/Slade's office /intimidate Slade during group shot speech and chat to workers Kira and Charlie, Yaz chats to Dan and helps infiltrate Slade's office/intimidate Slade during group shot speech, Graham questions Charlie and gets stolen stuff, oddly laid back/telling-all staff tell the group anything and everything- Judy, Kira, Dan and Charlie all start telling the group about their mums/parents/ex wife/daughter/ crush on nearby person IMMEDIATELY after meeting them, compare this to Angstrom/Rosa/Eve's wariness/not telling till danger/disaster strikes).
We're halfway in and still at the 'wonder what is going on?' phase with 13 doing nothing but chat to the Kerblam! bots/Judy/Kira or lecture on how everyone should behave, even when the bot literally starts attacking and strangling Charlie in front of the team it's left to Judy to stop it by pulling it's head off. The bots take Kira leading Ryan to lead Yaz and Charlie to the rescue via the rubbish chute lol, and Slade grabs a gun and promptly gets Akido'd by 13; only for it to turn out the info in his office was his attempt to investigate the missing without causing panic and his not telling 13 or Judy everything like everyone else has done so fa simple caution in case they were behind it, nice that finally things are less predictable/obvious!
And it continues as 13's earlier 'don't be robophobic' comment lines up with the events; turns out the computer system/ai and Kerblam! robots are being controlled/sabotaged to kill workers and sent the 'help' delivery slip to alert everyone, and the stolen 'antique/version 1' nervous Kerblam! bot is able to help by connecting/hacking into the original system. The electronic music continues to work nicely as Dyspraxic Ryan and the other younger characters Charlie/Yaz/Kira enter the basement level of Kerblam! and there's a brief action sequence involving the rubbish chute/ conveyors/decontamination system(not the best CGI or 'oh no ahh!' acting here. The idea of the sequence is nevertheless fun, lol the oh crap moment when the group see the chute leads to a massive sorting machine and sheer drop!).
And finally we discover the killer of the workers...bubble wrap. BUBBLE WRAP. It's both ridiculous (first electrical cables, then literal dirty water, then flying bog roll, then literal everyday spiders just bigger, now literal bubble wrap? The P'Ting wasn't even the third or fourth silliest enemy in this series and we've still got 3 episodes left!) and lowkey everyday-worrying, bringing to mind kids/ pets suffocated by leftover plastic/carrier bags and suspicious packages/parcels as the group find Kira vaporised by the exploding/gas-releasing bubble wrap. Even the creepily fluctuating lightingis foreshadowing; the power is being drained to give the sabotaged/controlled Kerblam! robots enough power to mass teleport and deliver hundreds of the deadly parcels at once, with the missing workers having been victims/guinea pigs to test the deadly parcels/anyone who found out and the group discovering an entire army of hijacked Kerblam! robots with parcels.
But why, and who? More implied/unintrusive real-life commentary; turns out the culprit is young Charlie, an activist protesting the loss of people's jobs and home lives in favour of companies like Kerblam! using cheaper and less welfare-and-rights-having robots instead. There are hints throughout with characters commenting on it being hard to get a job to support their families, and the system/ai/robots even tried to discourage Charlie by giving his closest co-worker/most interacted with Kira one of the deadly parcels; making the hard decision, as killing Kira might stop Charlie and thus save hundreds of people from the parcels.
And the ending; the group and 13 daren't approach Charlie lest he press the 'detonator' teleport control, 13 can't talk him down or Venusian Akido him('too many variables, my brain is distracted!' HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS ADVENTURE-SOLVING FOR? At least you used to follow talking/running with actual deductions and outsmarting!) and along with the others lets smallest person there Yaz try to tackle him and he escapes(nice Yaz remembered being a police officer at least), the direction and acting here makes it appear they're all just standing around whining so the clarity and tension/stakes are lost, then 13 FINALLY does something and makes the hard no-time-to-do-anything-else decision to sonic the broken teleport/version 1 bot so the robots teleport to the exact spot they're in and pay the cost of vaporising themselves rather than hundreds of people(robophobic? just decided the sabotaged/controlled robots should be vaporised instead of the same-or-bigger-if-others-nearby number of unsuspecting customers). As for Charlie, more uncomfortable paralells as he runs into the exploding robot army rather than face the consequences and reality of his actions/cause.
And his plan works- Slade and Judy decide to change their '10% humanoid/non-robotic employees just to tick a box' policy so this doesn't happen again(from Judy all 'we/i help lucky people!' sales patter to Charlie revealing he got hired despite his true activist identity by putting a sob story on his application that would look good and get picked! Also 'we won't stay employees, we're freelance' lol), and a sad but touching end as Yaz remembers she still has Dan's chain and asks 13 if they can go and tell his daughter what happened. Overall 'Kerblam!' is a decent idea with some effective lines/music/imagery and good-despite-distracting-recognisability guests Julie Hesmondhalgh and Lee Mack; just unfortunately obscured by a TON of expository and drawn out dialogue/scenes that waste most of the unremarkable cast including the main group and Doctor themselves, but still worth a look and like Tsuranga Conundrum a very 'typical Doctor Who' episode.
Ep 7 'Kerblam!'(weak title) future warehouse, starring Julie Hesmondhalgh(nicer white female Judy Maddox), Leo Flanagan(nastier white male Charlie Duffy), Claudia Jessie(nicer white female Kira Arlo), Callum Dixon(nastier white male Jarvis Slade), and Lee Mack(nicer white male Dan Cooper). Great alien, good visuals, team and soundtrack, eh plot and acting, weak Doctor.
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 8 'THE WITCHFINDERS' REVIEW
Hey everyone, the holiday season is nearly here- and so is the finale of the first series of a whole new era of Doctor Who! So before the penultimate and final eps hit, how are the TARDIS team shaping up?
The episode starts abruptly/randomly yet again(they never used to have this problem before with pre-credits skits so why can't they still write those scenarios/setups now and just not have a credits sequence follow?); as the crew suddenly decide to wander round medival times in modern clothes despite apparently intending on a trip into the past albeit not here, loudly using modern language/attitudes to people despite signs of distrust/local problems and fears, with no sign of the TARDIS set all episode(not only is it a dull/basic set, and only 3-sided/no rooms or corridors or stairs or balconies, but they hardly show it and zoom camera right in when doing so!), then go and watch a trial/witch hunt/execution despite no allowance of interfering in time or interest/enjoyment/ mystery or problem neccessitating this, then interfere but only once it is too late and sentence has been carried out even though the victim is just a random human and so saving them would be very unlikely to ruin the timeline anyway(saving Rose's dad would mess with her helping the Doctor and the universe, same for Amy/Rory prior series)!
The music isn't doing much either, but the setting/costumes/cast/direction is excellent! Everything looks convincing and clear and throughout ep the location/cast etc changes but stays consistently great quality. I hope we get to see 13 or the others in some sort of costume/special outfit at some point(no a safety vest in Ep 7 does not count)! At least we see more action from the Doc as she dives in and swims to rescue the resigned drowned 'witch' healer/nurse Mother Twiston(Tricia Kelly) literally 5 seconds after she is ducked/she tells others not to interfere and immediately pulls her out mere seconds later but is still too late and doesn't try to resucitate her or even turn her onto side/get water out of her lungs(no underwater scenes either boo, still it spared us seeing her presumably use the sonic yet again to undo all the chains!).
The grieving grandaughter Willa(Tilly Steele) is both grateful and wary, whilst local lady landowner and witch hunt instigator Becca Savage(Siobhan Finneran) is angry and suspicious until 13's psychic paper convinces her they're the Witchfinder General and assistants(lol 13 realising she's left the id in coat pocket whilst off swimming and having to go find it). The now-bowing Becca informs her of her 'progress' having caught and executed 35 'witches' so far and controlled the townsfolk/kept them from going for help or telling others by killing the horses/transport too(this cruelty, the dead 'witches' and no joke about 25 USES of the word 'Satan' plus a couple of 'Lucifers/devils/demons' and testing/torturing kit makes this a brilliantly blunt/brutal ep but a little unsuitable for the toddlers/children at 6.30 Sunday night).
At least 13 handles the tragedies and villains well this episode,as soon as the initial babbling arrival and dithering objections are over she does great both subtly resisting and influencing the villains and inspiring and fighting back, albeit with the usual workmanlike/lecturing/distracted style. Luckily the passion and humor are actually provided in spades this ep; a masked figure heralded by music turns out to be King James I(Alan Cumming), here to aid the growing 'witch infestation' problem and intrigued by the strange 'Witchfinders' group. Even the controversial 'females more sympathetic/feminist' angle is lessened here by A.the villain is a nasty woman, B.King James is both an vain arrogant prat to everyone not just women and also despite this treated a little sympathetically/not punished and C.the neat and amusing presentation, such as King James seeing the white male Graham is the leader on the psychic paper(more plausible for era) yet Becca Savage seeing the white female Doctor is the leader(less plausible but more in line with her own views) and ensuing confusion over what it actually says!
That said there is still some companion development this ep, as the rumored homosexual King James takes a liking to Ryan('my Nubian prince'PFFTHAHAHAHA i thought he was gonna say Yas similar/ripoff to Shakespeare liking 'dark lady' Martha!) and Ryan gets a few scenes as his 'bodyguard/aide/protector'. There's variation too, as Ryan gets a couple of more gentle moments with the 'lonely/in danger at the top' James confiding in him and both the king and Willa's family losses reminding Ryan of his own family Grace and Graham, and a couple of funnier scenes(finding Becca's axe and grabbing it when the door suddenly bashes open, protecting James from the villain with a flaming torch). James also gets a couple of more serious scenes(the one with Ryan, a nice one-on-one with the Doctor, coming round to helping the Doctor and her helping him against the villains despite their conflicting viewpoints) to round out his MANY funny lines/reactions.
We've had many historical figure representations before including Charles Dickens(another good one, both understandable and entertaining), Queen Victoria, Reinette Du Pompadour, Shakespeare (another 2-for-1 ep with neat foreshadowing cameo of Elizabeth 1st), Agatha Christie(also good), Churchill (best thing about an eh episode), Vincent Van Gogh(also the historical knight in Primeval, great), Nixon, Hitler(yes really.*hides smile at Rory punching Hitler*), Elizabeth 1st, Robin Hood(stuff possible 'fictional', awesome) and Rosa Parks(too one-sided serious but good, also 2-for-1 with Martin Luther King), and hopefully many more, but for now for me Alan Cumming as King James 1st ranks as easily one of the best! And i didn't even know anything about the figure again. Can we have Tutankhamun(or Night Museum films family) or Sherlock Holmes(again stuff fiction. So many versions to choose from though!)or King Arthur'Merlin(BBC version pref)next please?
We have a couple token 'woman Doctor' lines albeit more sympathetic/amusing('patronised to death/dunno which is more barking/if i was still a bloke' lol, i think James called her nonsensical words/mannerisms 'alluring' or something once? If so LOL), Yas's sole contribution unfortunately being another real-life issue lecture to an attacked by aliens-and-people Willa(a bullying story, apparently the constant 'scapegoating and hating' peer pressure theme of the entire episode/era wasn't enough), and Graham's sole contribution being the 'Witchfinder General'(plays along nicely and tries to use authority to save/stop executions once checked no 'timeline messups' with Doc, also more non-Ryan scenes and LOL when at least gets a partial costume 'witchfinding hat' courtesy of James only for finger to go through a bullet hole in it from last General being a traitor and shot! Also yeah someone died in that hat, enjoy Graham...).
And all this surrounds the main plot; Becca Savage found a coven of elemental aliens, the Moraks, imprisoned in the infamous Pendle Hill(for trying to invade, also lol her accidently letting them out by breaking open their old/damaged prison whilst cutting down a neighbours tree blocking her view, even in medival times eh...) and the queen tried to possess her and make her bring King James there so their king could possess him. Becca meanwhile tried to resist the possession and asked Twiston to heal her, then found she couldn't and had her executed to stop her letting slip to anyone whilst also instigating witch hunts partly under the queen's influence and partly because 'doing God's work' might somehow give her salvation.
Which relies on Siobhan Finneran;thankfully her performance as the traitorous, selfish, simpering, righteous, guilty and terrified of her 'devil possession' Becca is excellent! Her and the scared townspeoples predicament escalates plausibly and engagingly; right up to Willa fearfully siding with her and James to save herself when Becca accuses the 'interfering magic wand-waving incantation-spewing' Doctor of raising the Morak army and Jodie Whittaker's scenes confronting and reasoning with the faith-led James('I'm not the only one who hides behind a title, Doctor','don't fear what you don't understand','Who are you Doctor?') when tied up and then figuring out Becca's strange behaviour and spotting her mark from the Morak encounterjust as she is ducked into the water('You point at other people so they don't point at you. Why? Keeping an axe by your bed, what do you know?'*Becca leans in*'Know this, Doctor. Once you are dead, your friends will be next.'*wood she brushes against sparks from her shaky touch, she hastily backs away in fear- then 13 sees dirt mixed in with her tear, trickling from her eye.*Doctor*voice lowered with horrified realization*'I was right.' *the chained 13 is plunged into the water as Graham tries to order it stopped with his 'General' status and Ryan pleads with the unsure James, soldiers preventing the companions or Willa from diving in.*)
And then there's the Moraks themselves-an easily-spottable representation of people's 'hating' and 'peer pressure corruption'('We will fill you with rage, and hate, and MORAK!') who literally fill peope/convert their blood and flesh to earth/mud/dirt and wood/rot. From the initial encounter as Willa buries her nan only to be delighted then horrified as 'nan' rises from the earth and she realises it's not her, to 13 urgently and sorrowfuly telling her this and then trying to figure out what they're dealing with as the other 35 'witches''s corpses rise('lol 'poetry under pressure' and sarcastic 'delightful, down the hatch' when 'nan' animalistically snatches and eats the dirt sample 13 was collecting), to 'nan' and the other 'witches' searching for Becca in her creaky house wielding the axe as the companions hide, to a terrified Becca confessing her possession and scheme to King James and escaped-chains-via-sonic-or-Houdini? 13 as she dies agonisingly transforming into the Morak Queen(also playing this role convincingly)- the threat/horror here is done perfectly throughout and the Morak effects and make-up/voices are distinctive and great.
The solution is pretty simple and a little unimaginative though-13 sonics the 'prison lock' tree stump and traps all the Moraks back inside. Thought the sonic didn't work on wood etc? There's a great 'cliffhanger' as the Moraks now led by their queen emerge and kidnap King James whilst knocking everyone unconcious with a blast of earth/air(music this ep is eh save one nice violinesque bit near end), and then Willa apologizes for her fear/self-preservation and they all team up to rescue the scared/praying James from being taken over by the Morak Queen's love the Morak King as Graham gives the Doc the 'General' hat...then they jut wave the sonic and the end. This really could've made an epic two-parter with the villagers actually given any depth at all to care about them and the threat of alien invasion changing history and Britain's timeline and monarchy!
However, the final ending is classic Doctor Who. 13 gives the Morak Queen/Becca('There is nothing left of that pathetic woman!' no cliched fighting possession here) a chance to live, but she refuses to give up or go back into the prison- and the freed-by-Ryan King James takes it upon himself to save the day and 'vanquish' her(*runs at Morak Queen with flaming torch*'BURN THE WIIITCH!' LOL brilliant!), ending the threat(nice 'illuminated tree roots/chains under hill' distance shot here). The elementally-messed up weather(Becca said 'magic' ruins crops!) starts raining(also adding atmosphere to the nightime visuals), and the bodies of nurse Twiston and the other executed 'witches' are finally unpossessed and left alone('They can have peace' a grieving but brave Willa says upon seeing her nan and the others lying there). 13 takes off the 'General' hat and gives it back to King James; and just glares at him, angry at his rushing in and killing the Morak Queen when 13 was trying to give her/Becca a last chance. The breeze and rain falls onto them all and bedraggles her hair like the earlier rescue attempt and ducking did, and fade to black.
Willa and King James I accompany the team to the TARDIS('I know she doesn't speak to me because of our differing methods' James says to Ryan) and the lack of historical records of the 35, now 36 executions in Bilehurst Crag is explained(James says he'll have all records of horrible and potentially panic-causing incident wiped). Willa thanks them and says she'll try to continue her nan's mistaken- for-witchcraft medical practices/potions/medicine/healing('I'll be a Doctor') and Ryan awkwardly and nicely refuses James's invitation to continue being his protector in London(*smiles at the King* 'Behave yourself.'). Then they all get into the TARDIS(James 'What apparition is this?' and trying to guess Graham's Tarantino quote, 13 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi writer reference) and it takes off with the classic effect/sound. Willa is wowed'enchanted by the sight and King James not wary anymore but puzzled('...Where did it go?').
Basically, bar VERY slight/reduced usual complaints of wishy-washy nagging Doctor/not all companions equal or memorable and a likely-temporary lack of the usual great standard of soundtrack/music, 'The Witchfinders' is an all-round great episode of Who and follows Woman Fell and Tsuranga in being a 'typical formula' episode with a strong cast/presentation. Alan Cumming and Siobhan Finneran make excellent historical figures and villains respectively and Tilly Steele and Tricia Kelly play their sympathetic parts well without looking weak in comparision, and Jodie Whittaker continues to have the odd on-point reaction or line delivery and show potential. Finneran and Kelly's turns as possessed Moraks/Morak Queen are also potentially creepy, and the Moraks make a great addition to the 'humanoid monsters/aliens' list with room for their powers and motivations to be expanded on in future like the Stenza. Finally, new writer Joy Wilkinson's script and story/idea are welcome and tick another ep off the writers list;
old writer/showrunner Chris Chibnall eps 1 'Woman Fell'(great title) and 5 'Tsuranga'(great title) great,
co-writer with new writer Malorie Blackman ep 3 'Rosa'(great title) not bad,
eps 2 'Monument'(great title) and 4 'Arachnids'(weak title) eh,
new writer Vinaj Patel ep 6 'Demons'(great title) not bad,
new writer Pete Mctighe ep 7 'Kerblam'(eh title) not bad(closest new-writer one to 'eh'),
new writer Joy Wilkinson ep 8 'Witchfinders'(eh title) great.
Ep 8 'The Witchfinders'(eh title) medieval England, starring Alan Cumming(nicer white male King James I), Siobhan Finneran(nastier white female Becca Savage), Tilly Steele(nicer white female Willa Twiston), Tricia Kelly(nicer white female Mother Twiston), and a couple of nicer white females and males. Great acting, alien/villain and visuals, good plot and Doctor, eh team and soundtrack.
And next time, penultimate ep 9 'It Takes You Away'(eh title) and finale ep 10 'The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos'(weak title). Allons-y!
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 9 'IT TAKES YOU AWAY' REVIEW
Evening everyone, well that was an interesting episode! The finale glimpse at the end was pretty vague, but a gravelly sort of voice said 'you gave me my destiny' and sounded a bit like the teleported Stenza from Ep 1; and just as we've had various references to 'war against Stenza' or 'universe is a hard place' in Eps 2/5/7 the place looked like a dark wartorn street/planet and Mark Addy's character was 'I should've left but the battle...' plus nine distress signals(not twelve like the twelve galaxies mentioned in Ep 2).
Anyway, this ep started and ended with the team arriving/leaving in TARDIS and again conspicously no good look at inside/no sight of inside it at all boo. 13's latest wacky past/future reference is that in 193 years sheep will finish plotting 'The Wooly Rebellion', another silly idea but at least is mentioned more than once. The usual lots of stating the obvious this ep right from start as they spot a house in distance with chimney but no smoke(could just be abandoned!) and head over to investigate but see it is boarded up(told ya so) but then of course there's an alien inside and crew aren't really suprised(they must at least expect one normal non-alien trip sometimes even if TARDIS leads them to places like this often!).
13 checks area by tasting soil lol(but knowing local area places and Trip Advisor rating is just silly.) and later figures out what's going on nicely(bit of sonic usage but mostly logical/neccessary). Ryan notices/hears a girl calling for help at window, who turns out to be blind Hanne(Ellie Wallwork), whose dad has vanished amid sounds of roaring and of course she couldn't see who/what did it. The front door has multiple locks(nice reveal as sonic unlocks them from outside), house is boarded up with supplies inside. BTW the balance here between Doctor, all companions and guest stars is perhaps the best yet, with everyone getting a little development or screentime. The music is also solid, not as distinctive as prev eps but delibaretely subtle to add believable emptiness/tension/ creepiness and a little violin for the dramatic/action moments.
Graham's practical as usual, carrying sandwhiches in case of no food and noting the kids shoes on floor 'maybe not a kid here, just a maniac who collects kids's shoes' lol. Yaz tries to reassure by complimenting her Artic Monkeys t-shirt and learns it's from Hanne's mum who died. The development for Ryan is a bit obvious/blunt as Ryan assumes Hanne's dad ran off like his did and insists so getting told off by Yaz and 13 repeatedly, then is knocked unconcious by Hanne and has to rescue her and prove his trustworthiness/tact with kids, but it just about works and is sympathetic nonetheless.
Hanne is fairly independent, but herself insists/argues on everything from whether 13 drew a map or not to what her dad is up to and runs/panics at wrong moment occasionally(the title drop 'It takes you away' is when she hasn't actually encountered anything at all or had any break ins or has any clue about aliens etc, good trailer clip but obviously that). Then upon searching house for missing dad(Yaz's 'police trained to deal with kids, reinforce what reassures them' line is nice) Graham and Ryan find a mirror upstairs WITH NO REFLECTIONS! Ryan of course points out they're not vampires lol, then 13 sonics mirror and stops Graham touching it('It didn't fool me, not like i gave it my credit card details or anything' lol) only to poke HER HEADSTRAIGHT THROUGH IT(nice fluctuating portal effect here and only shows 13's reaction not what she sees!).
Maybe the stating the obvious lines throughout the series(this ep 'just stuck head through a dimensional portal in a mirror in a bedroom in Norway', 'thrown by a', 'a fjord', 'friends' and 'universe doesn't fit together' not only blidingly obvious but repeated multiple times) are meant to be 13 having a new lease of life wanting to experience/appreciate everything, but aside from the MANY 'friends/do right thing/help/sorry' lines in series 13's attitude seems to be very 'go from A to B' and 'smile/chatter but not laugh/go crazy' so it's not entirely convincing and more repetitively sincere/simplistic.
However, not sure that's Jodie Whittaker's fault; she delivers both comedic and serious moments, i just WISH the writing would have her have a laugh or get really angry or just explore/wander not investigate or have a tragic/weak moment or a more subtle trick/idea. Just show the Doctor, don't tell us 'i'm the Doctor and here's a random adventure reference factoid/explanation or order'! There is a BRILLIANTLY Doctory twist near the end when the Doctor bargains for the villain to take them instead of one of the others- 'You want experience? I can tell you. I've lived longer, seen more, loved more, lost more- i can give you it all!', and seeing Jodie deliver lines like this is great; but a line or two per episode isn't enough, and i'm not sure whether to simply accept this as the Thirteenth Doctor's characterisation and Jodie Whittaker's acting ability and claim it's just not to my taste or continue to criticise/ask for less repetitive and bland/straightforward writing and to see if Jodie can attempt or succeed at other moments/behaviour etc.
Oh and i think that's my problem with Yaz as well; lots of going round asking what's going on and ticking things off the list with righteous or police authority not Doctor authority, less to no having fun or being really affected(even in family ep 6 Demons), like 13 minus the random references and occasional childish facepull/line delivery so blander- it'd be nice to see Mandip Gill get to attempt or do more as well. Meanwhile, youngest/least authorative and disliked by Hanne Ryan is left to look after Hanne and protect from/fight off anything alone because that makes sense, whilst 13/Graham/ Yasmin go into the portal and find themselves in a shadowy smoky cave(cool 'walls closing' effect 13 has to get through and 'flaming rocks!' when they leave, and bless Graham and Ryan helping each other and then Ryan worried about 13).
They meet an humanoid alien there, 'Ribbons, of the Seven Stomachs'(Kevin Eldon) who is some sort of carnivore/omnivore and agrees to show them where Hanne's dad went('no horns, one mouth, ugly like you?' lol) in exchange for 13's 'tubular' sonic('No charity, only trade. Ah, you ask the clever questions, your brain is probably tasty' lol), but turns out to have a second non-confiscated-by-13 knife to cut the string she left to the entrance myth-style and be intending to eat them('First i'll eat the bird(Yas), then the codger'Graham-'Codger? And how do you smell even worse than before, is that wee?''It's not mine!' lol).
He seems to have been there 'always'(think he couldn't escape through portal? Not sure) and picked up some Earth terms like bird/codger/daddy and is a welcome typical Who non-hero/main villain alien, who ends up killed by vicious mutated/alien moths attracted to the sonic(attack the anomalies(strangers), not me!), which also leads to a neatly ominous sequence when blind Hanne stumbles past his corpse and then Ryan tries to get them both out safely only to unknowingly attract the moths lighting the way out.
After this we get the reveal/explanation and see the triangular and white corridors from the trailer- Hanne's dad Erik(Christian Rubeck) discovered the portal/rift led to another universe(the cave is just the 'antizone' barrier/border between universes); created by an alien called a Solitract, whose unstable being/form/matter is incompatible with ours and causes our universe/ spacetime to be unable to handle it and start collapsing if tries to enter ours(13 mentions hearing 'bout Solitract from a gran, one of 7, specifically no.5 who said no 2. was a Zygon spy- again trying to reference 'Doctory' random things but just ends up stupid.
As a result, the Solitract is lonely and bored and so tries to convince anyone who finds it to stay in it's universe by scanning and impersonating their memories and loved ones/places; upon meeting Erik it created a replica of the house/woods and impersonated/created a puppet of his dead wife(Lisa Stokke). Despite suspecting it was fake/not real Erik wanted to believe it and so locked his daughter Hanne safely in the house with some supplies and traps to keep away bears(plus a 'roar' emitting recording Ryan finds) to keep her there whilst he spends time with 'Trine' and convinces her to move Hanne there- not knowing that having even one more person from our incompatible universe there will destabalize and destroy the created place and kill the Solitract. And then not one but FIVE people from this universe turn up...
Of course the Solitract tries to befriend them by impersonating Graham's dead wife Grace(likely couldn't decide on which of the Doc's many past friends/family to be lol), and Graham wants to believe it(clever how it's 'proof knowledge only Grace could know' is just stuff only GRAHAM and Grace knew that it read his mind for) but after some arguing with 13 confronts the Solitract when it claims Ryan will be fine on his own and can look after himself despite Grace's caring nature. Cool how it's 'he's a smart lad, can take care of himself' less obviously just selfish but more reasonable and not suspiciously pushy/emotional then suddenly subtly colder/defeatist when Graham rejects her and suddenly shoves him back through the portal, another great performance from Sharon D.Clarke and also Bradley Walsh here! 13 However- with both Graham/Grace and Erik/Trine she gets kind impatient and bossy 'C'mon, it's not real let's go!!', which is just a bit tactless and dismissive.
Yasmin gets cross at the Solitract's manipulation of fellow companion Graham('Grace was brave, she would've led the charge for the portal' nice performance from Mandip Gill, also lol Graham and her cross at Erik for abandoning/tricking daughter 'No, I'LL hit him' again potential for both Yas and Yas/Graham scenes) and so is shoved into the portal by 'Trine'. This only leaves Erik and 13 at which point 13 convinces the Solitract to stop manipulating Erik and let him go in exchange for the much more interesting Doctor instead(reminiscent of Fear Her's lonely Isolus and Rings Akhaten's memory-devouring planet); always good to see a 'Doctor/companion/other offers themselves in another's place' gesture actually followed through with not just 'oh no they're in trouble ha not really'. The Solitract logically and bizarrely then impersonates Grace's favourite animal, a frog(so we don't ever see or hear the Solitract's true self and keep up the mystery neat, plus points for randomness without being too random/illogical/silly like some things/references!).
And so 13 comprehends her sacrifice meaning she's trapped on the wrong side of a collapsed portal away from her friends/home universe etc(but is interrupted before Jodie can actually act this or tell any of the Doctor's story/experiences/feelings to the lonely/curious Solitract, damn it! Also reading some of the Doctor's memories likely helped it but also did it's head in); only to realise the Solitract can't handle her weirder/less stable than a human Time Lord(no name drop drat) being and will eventually to collapse and die taking her with it.
So 13 convinces it to instead let her go immediately home and live if it really cares and keep living for another chance just as alone and bored as before, and kindly agrees to be friends despite the danger it initially put them all in. Bit of gushing 'we're best friends, you're the maddest most beautiful thing ever' etc 13 you can be sweet and hands-on BUT YOU'RE A GOODY-TWO SHOES LECTURER AND YOU BLATHER TOO MUCH! Also, what if the Solitract ends up kidnapping someone again? Sigh...
The Solitract sends 13 back and the team leave after making sure Hanne and Erik are ok(whilst hugging Hanne Erik sees the 'map' instructions 13 left earlier over 13's shoulder and it's 'assume the dad is dead or lying' yep they sussed you out man, and 13 knows what he's looking at and just LOOKS at him lol) and leaving the area and say goodbye to them, and a shell-shocked Graham tells a worried Ryan what happened with his wife and Ryan's nan 'Grace', leading Ryan to continue learning to be more understanding and less defensive and comfort him('...I miss her too.'*TARDIS about to leave*'C'mon, Grandad.' *Graham realises Ryan is admitting he cares about him and accepting him*'What'd you just call me?'*Ryan grins* 'You going deaf in your old age?*waiting for him not running off*'C'mon, TARDIS time.' oh this characterisation and development isn't dull or contrived but just gradual/natural and perfect!), and cue ending tune/credits as the TARDIS vanishes.
And that's 'It Takes You Away'; an unusual episode this series, but just about effective! The cast is just the mains, a human girl and briefly a human dad and humanoid/less weird looking alien and the main 'villain' literally just Sharon D Clarke and a frog and no particular standouts, but everyone gets at least one decent scene/moment. The setting looks perfect as usual(new winner of 'Most Reliable Element'! Also clever 'mirroring' effect), and the music whilst for the second week in a row more forgettable/less memorable'catchy than usual does fit this more downbeat/subtly creepy episode. The idea is good in both concept and writing/utilisation, and this episode is now tied with Woman Fell and Tsuranga for 'most pure sci-fi/Who, least real-issue repeating'. Basically it's the second pretty good episode in a row and whilst i rate Witchfinders higher as more of an all-rounder, this episode's main strength is it's focus on telling a less typical touching and unsettling/curious story(oh and i don't usually ever watch Nordic stuff!).
Writers so far; Chris Chibnall old writer/showrunner, eps 1-5 The Woman Who Fell To Earth(good title, great ep), The Ghost Monument (good title, eh ep), co-wrote Rosa(good title, not bad ep), Arachnids In The UK(weak title, eh ep) and The Tsuranga Conundrum(good title, great ep), and next the finale!
Malorie Blackman new writer, co-wrote Rosa(good title, not bad ep).
Vinaj Patel new writer, Demons Of The Punjab(good title, not bad ep).
Pete Mctighe new writer, Kerblam!(eh title, not bad ep).
Joy Wilkinson new writer, The Witchfinders(eh title, great ep).
Ed Hime new writer, It Takes You Away(eh title, not bad ep).
Ep 9'It Takes You Away'(eh title)present Norway cabin, starring Sharon D Clarke(nicer non-white female Grace/formless alien Solitract), Ellie Wallwork(nicer white female Hanne), Kevin Eldon(nastier alien male Ribbons), Christian Rubeck(nicer white male Erik), and Lisa Stokke(nastier white female Trine/Solitract).(N.B. last two eps despite goodness have continued the 'females better' theme; with the hunted women Twiston/13/Yas/Willa and possessed Becca vs foolish James/evil Morak King/no big issue or main plot Graham/Ryan, then the understanding/moving on/pointing out 13/Yas/Hanne and loved/merciful 'Grace/Trine'Solitract vs denial Graham/still awkward and scolded Ryan and threatening/gets self killed Ribbons...)
Great visuals and alien/villain, good team and plot, eh acting, Doctor and soundtrack.
(Aaaannnd extended finale trailer- the Grah/Yas blow things up bit from trailer, (Phyllis Logan i think?) asks 'who are you' and 'where is the object',Mark Addy can't remember his name,Ryan hears a v.high pitched female 'Agh!', and 13 'knows that voice'(bet she means Stenza-sounding one)!)
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 10 'THE BATTLE OF RANSKOOR AV KOLOS' REVIEW
Hello everyone, and welcome to the finale of Doctor Who Series 11 Reviews! Tell ya what...
Ep 10 'The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos'(weak title) future quarry'locker rooms, starring Samuel Oatley(nastier alien male Tzim-Sha), Phyllis Logan(nicer white female Andinio), Mark Addy(nicer white male Greston Paltraki Stebble), and Percelle Ascott(nicer non-white male Delph), plus a couple of nastier alien robots/nicer mostly non-white females and males.
Good alien/villain, eh plot, acting, Doctor and visuals, weak team and soundtrack.
The episode starts with two 'aliens' i.e people that look, sound, wear similar clothes to and act human yet again(Andinio and Delph, nice dreadlock hairstyles) monologuing cryptically about 'learning/knowing/duty' and 'years/decades/centuries/three thousand four hundred and seven years later' and 'creators/ faiths'. It then switches to 13 expositioning about 9 distress signals, specific area of specific planet, disintegrator of the soul, psychotropic waves, cheery mood/mind, battlefields, cryo sleep, long range craft, war and commanders, neural balancers, crystals, crashed spaceships, density, 'he took something', 'no guns/don't have gun, but can use grenades/later use a gun fair game- obey my rules or you can't travel with me, obey my orders on your personal problems, but don't quote/expect me to my rules i forget/change them(yep this is definitely our understanding, passionate, consistent/determined rule-breaking curious/funny explorer The Doctor- NOT!), 'not in right mind/mad/just a headache', 'i invented wellies' (no you didn't), 'congress', and don't forget 'always take precautions'(...).
Meanwhile the companions just stand/walk and occasionally ask what's going on/what something is, in both the dull quarry and the dull 'spaceship' metal rooms. Spaceship commander Paltraki appears and there's a repeated explanation that 'psychotropic waves' will break their minds, but he and Yas and 13 are all exposed to these for at least 10 minutes and he for a lot longer with no company and limited supplies and all that happens is they mention a headache/he gets a bit confused, plus oh look 13 just happened to have the exact cure and compatible with all their varied species. The only breaking-up of this endless exposition is that suddenly Ep 1's Tzim-Sha teleports in, threatens to kill Paltraki's crew and them and immediately kills one of them to prove this(nice 'here's a new charact- nope dead' subversion of expectations).
Things then improve slightly as we learn the plot; 13's meddling with Tzim-Sha's recall device/ teleport caused it to malfunction and latch on to the next nearest source of 'dimensional engineering/time energy', which was Andinio and Delph- part of an Adam-and-Eve type 'only ever one man and one woman' race called the Ux who use their dimensional-engineering abilities to create religious shrines and such(cool idea!). They thus thought this powerful alien being suddenly miraculously appearing at their shrine's creation with knowledge and experience of dimensions/time and many planets/races(from hunting and fighting them...)was a god/creator, and so helped him continue his 'preservation of planets/races/moments' i.e. hunting, imprisoning, torturing, controlling and showing off any subjugated beings/races/planets that had ever denied or opposed the Stenza!
It's a similar idea to The Stolen Earth and The Pirate Planet, but considering those stories are over 9 and 30 years old respectively and each focused on their own theme(Daleks/return of Davros' companions and the Key To Time story arc'Romana), plus the whole capturing races/planets idea suits the hunter-warrior Stenza perfectly and many viewers won't have seen/realised the similarity, plus Doctor Who is already guilty of WAY too many 'reality-bending' and 'over the top threat' stories/ideas it could've worked brilliantly. The problem here is the preposterous and tedious presentation; the visuals are the dullest of this entire series and don't do the concept justice(even Ep4 Arachnids had the big hotel/labs/flats/secret basement cavern etc), the soundtrack just boringly hums away without either allowing for effective silence/sound effects and voices or accompanying epic tunes/motifs, and the dialogue beats Kerblam for most expositionary and silly this series(Tzim-Sha lived, stopped numerous spaceship attacks/invasions and completely fooled/ entrusted the godlike Ux for over 3,407 YEARS?! And is then defeated by 13 QUIETLY TELLING THE UX OFF AND GRAHAM SHOOTING HIM IN THE FOOT?!?).
Yaz gets to do nothing, Ryan suddenly becomes the reasonable/loving one('Not in right mind, be better than this, it's ok, i love you Grandad'*fist bump, both echo*'Grace!'- seriously?!, Graham suddenly announces a unstoppable desire to kill Tzim-Sha(who didn't kill or even target Grace, or even know she was there as he was too busy climbing the crane!) and petuantly argues with 13/Ryan (even ignores 13 pointing out he's putting the hostages and Ryan etc in danger?!)...only to upon confronting Tzim-Sha suddenly say 'but i'm a better man' politely and JUST STAND THERE WAITING FOR TZIM-SHA TO KILL HIM AND THEN GO AND KILL THE WAITING RYAN AND PALTRAKI/THE ESCAPING CREW. And then our 'universe-threatening bad'(yawn) is just forced to keel over pathetically whilst Graham and Ryan stand over him remembering Grace like they've been doing all episode and all series but now taking a leaf out of 13's 'lecturing self-righteousness' bookSYMPATHY LIMIT REACHED MALFUNCTION.
We then get a very drawn-out sequence with 13 lecturing the easily-led-despite-acting-and-looking- just-like-everyday-naive/selfish-humans Ux, complete with more Tennant-era ripoffs for 13(they literally all just control the TARDIS to return the planets just as in the end of Stolen Earth- even say so 'towed a planet once'! At least transporting/teleporting planets preserved in statis is less dumb than DRAGGING THEM THROUGH SPACE WITH NO EFFECT ON THE PLANET WHATSOEVER), then they just get in the TARDIS and leave. Blank-smiling-ever-after, The End. Are you a finale or a faint?
The only saving grace of 'The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos'- there wasn't even a fight, let alone a battle!- is the cast's admirable attempts to make something of the wasted-but-full-of- potential Stenza/trophy hunting planets'races/pacifist 13's consequences of letting villains like Tzim-Sha live series arc(certainly more interesting than the generic 'war/invasion/cleansing' storyline hinted at in a few eps/lines). At least there are a few good moments/lines/concepts;
.The end of the Ux exposition/first scene, where Andinio and Delph's ceremony is suddenly interrupted by a distant teleport...a typical pre-opening credits hook and ominous setup!
.The 'psychotropic waves' the planet's atmosphere gives off, potentially tying into/explaining the Ux's mind/reality-bending powers and the unused/wasted suggestion of this affecting the companions and even the Doctor with all their knowledge/experience.
.13/Graham/Ryan's debates/discussions over what to do about Tzim Sha, the consequences of their actions and all 4's conflicting moralities/beliefs, without the scenes/lines being too drawn out/pushy or too basic/ignored.
.Very brief but there moments of threat when Tzim Sha kills a potential new character hostage within seconds of their introduction(!), and when the sniperbots shoot Graham and Ryan and only Ryan's 'Duck!' saves them and causes the 'bots/drones to shoot each other lol.
.The possibility that the Ux's/planet's powers/effects involve 'Dimensional Engineering', so Tzim Sha could be targeting or creating a TARDIS/the Time Lords(none of this happens, was just my idea)...
.Some of 13's lines when confronting Tzim Sha and the Ux; 'Yes, how can i know', 'What d'you think of my new coat?', '3,407 years? Bet the 7 dragged', 'from leader to false god', 'no one is unstoppable', and 'You might have a shrine, but i've got a Ghost Monument'!
.Tzim Sha's presence and Samuel Oatley's performance; the initial 'I know that voice' security cameras reveal and hostaging/on-screen killing of crew, their meeting again and Tzim Sha's reveal of what happened and accusation/mocking thanks to 13 for giving him this chance('I must be a god- i have the powers of one.'), 13*urgent* 'The weapon is here, somewhere in this building-'*Tzim Sha smiles* 'Not in this building, Doctor. The shrine IS the weapon.'*13 looks round in horror, trapped*,
and best of all the juxtaposition as 13 runs to save everyone whilst Tzim Sha's voice comes though the comms 'Run, tiny creature- it will make no difference now. The weapon is activated, Doctor...the Stenza held beings in statis as trophies, but that was never our ultimate goal.' *13's silhouette runs faster as the lights flicker, illuminating the fear on her face and the pensive look on Tzim Sha's* 'Our ultimate goal...was to hold civilisations. They never found a way, but i have. You gave me my destiny...'
.A few of Graham's later lines; 'Yippee-Ki-Yay robots','...sorry Ryan'*aims at approaching Tzim Sha*, Ryan 'You shot him!' Graham 'Only in the foot! Don't tell the Doc...', and 'Taste of your own medicine' leaving Tzim Sha trapped injured but fully awake and alone in one of the statis pods in the abandoned/collapsed shrine/planet.
...And that's it folks, the entirety of Series 11 of Doctor Who! So, what is the final verdict on the first series of this new era of Who? Well...
.The Thirteenth Doctor has had a few good lines/actions every other episode, but overall 13's characterisation is neurotic, hypocritical, ditzy, blathering, bland/vacant and whiny/nagging. It's on a par with 12(Peter Capaldi) or 6(Colin Baker)'s very earliest 'causes danger for others' characterisation, but with the funnier jerkass one liners replaced by simpering denial/patronisation. PLEASE FIX IIIIIITTTTT!!!
.Jodie Whittaker's performance has been ok, with all the characterisation delivered convincingly, so if given some far less unfortunate scripts could well be great! However throughout the series/ episodes there have been various weaker moments/performances, which combined with the scripts has left me personally unable to see her as the Doctor and with prior series improved scripts could still pose an obstacle. My preference would be one more series to fix her characterisation and give Jodie a few more chances for great more Doctorish performances, then try another actor/actress preferably who meets at least one of the current companions. Companion-wise i would prefer Jodie to replace the current companions with one new one of either gender before leaving, or lose one or two of the current ones(ideally just keep Yaz to try a typical Doctor/younger female dynamic).
.Bradley Walsh's performance has been good to me with varied and convincing emotions/moments, and Graham's characterisation has been the most consistently entertaining/sympathetic of the lot. However, i'm unsure how things should proceed- a little too many of his scenes/lines have revolved around Grace or Ryan so a chance to just have a few more straightforward adventures would be welcome, yet if kept for too long viewers often tire of characters(such as Jenna Coleman/Clara being praised but her drawn out and overglorified status quite controversial) so a sooner exit could preserve/avoid S12 potentially damaging the character and give S11 a fairly successful unique feature.
.Tosin Cole's performance has been ok to me with various good emotions/moments, and Ryan's characterisation has been consistent and entertaining. Doing one more series or leaving soon would be fine with me either way.
.Mandip Gill's performance has been ok to me, but as with Jodie i am unsure of her full abilities in Who due to Yasmin's characterisation issues- in this case a combination of boring/unsympathetic characterisation and a problematic lack of screentime/varied scenes and moments. Doing one more series or leaving soon would be fine with me either way.
.Writers-wise my preference would be an increased episode count, no more than 3 Chibnall eps, another Joy Wilkinson(Witchfinders) ep, another Vinay Patel(Punjab) ep, another Malorie Blackman (Rosa) ep but no co-writers this time so we can see her style better, 2 or 3 eps by previous modern Who writers so they can try 13 and/or the 'fam', and 2 or 3 eps by new writers. If this selection is only possible with an equal episode count fine, if requiring a reduced count then ditch the S11 writers.
.Setting-wise we've had 2 modern UK eps(nighttime and hotel), 2 dusty planet eps(desert and quarry), 2 20th century ethnic eps(town and farm), 1 future ep(spaceship), 2 daytime building eps (warehouse and house), and 1 medieval ep(village); a fairly even and varied spread, but with more repetition/similarities than needed. Next series i would prefer more alien-looking eps and future eps, with no more than 3 modern/daytime building eps and at least 1 of any historical eps set in a non-medieval 'ancient times' ep.
.Hang on a minute...every single alien-looking being/race(not cables, bog roll or spiders, and sniper bots/drones and Kerblam bots are robots not aliens) we've met this series(mr Stenza, the Pting, spiky things duo from Punjab, mrs Morax and mr Ribbons- no groups AT ALL! And only 1 remotely feminine alien and 1 'dumb/animalistic' alien) has been hostile or appeared hostile! THAT'S ALIENIST! Right then, next series at least 3 eps with 1 or more sympathetic and/or neutral aliens, at least 2 eps with pre-S11 aliens, at least 1 ep with an alien race/army/group, at least 2 eps with feminine or female aliens, at least 1 ep with a dumb/animalistic alien, and at least 2 eps with hostile new aliens please! And at least 5 eps with humans, but no more than 2 with 'alien in word/one smaller physical feature only, otherwise quite human' beings.
.Particular thanks to all the guest stars of Series 11- you have to me been one of the most reliable, entertaining and memorable features of Doctor Who Series 11(not to mention living up to previous series casts and avoiding many of people's S11 complaints)!
My favourites; Samuel Oatley(Tzim-Sha, Woman Fell/Battle Ranskoor), Sharon D Clarke(Grace O'Brien, Woman Fell/Arachnids/It Takes), Phillip Abiodun(Salad Man, Woman Fell), the 3-strong cast of Ghost Monument, Vinette Robinson(Rosa Parks), Joshua Bowman(Krasko), Chris Roth(Jack Robertson), the 6-strong cast of Tsuranga Conundrum, Lee Mack(Dan Cooper- related to Gwen Cooper lol? Kerblam), Alan Cumming(King James I, Witchfinders), Siobhan Finneran(Becca Savage, Witchfinders), Tilly Steele (Willa Twiston, Witchfinders), Ellie Wallwork(Hanne, It Takes).
.A new theme tune/opening titles sequence is always welcome to me, a new TARDIS no need if the current one works; but to me the current one definitely does not either by itself or compared to others, so either redo it or continue to barely ever show it...
So is that the end of any Doctor Who content here at Anomaly21 till 2020? Nope- there's the upcoming holiday season Special review and it's potential both as an episode and any effects it has on S11, any Doctor Who Series news, and possibly the odd previous-series article/review(but the ongoing Primeval and Bratz projects and possible other doll/film/tv show articles/news all take priority). And thank you to everyone and particularly the cast and guest stars of Series 11 for making this series, and good luck with any future work!
Finally, thank you to all of you who've visited this page or the rest of Anomaly21- i hope you've enjoyed these reviews and articles, and that any information or photos provided have been helpful and accurate. Getting to experience and help celebrate awesome fiction and art like Doctor Who and Primeval is a privilege, and with any luck there will be more new instalments and all-new stories as well as old classics to remember and enjoy for many years to come! Roll on 2019!
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 11 EPISODE 11 'RESOLUTION OF THE DALEKS' REVIEW
Hello everyone, and welcome to 2019! Doctor Who is now over until 2020, but fear not; as well as covering any upcoming news/rumors and relevant previous series, we still have one more episode in the brilliant universe of Doctor Who- Resolution Of The Daleks!
*episode not only just calls itself 'Resolution' despite spoiling the nature of the ep in the trailer audio and to all and sundry press, and ignoring the traditional naming success 'Of The Daleks', but then repeats Ep 1's complete lack of opening credits AND repeats the shortened title in the closing credits like it's proud/we need reminding! Almost like it's trying not to be recognisably Doctor Who...
The special starts with a typical sci-fi/fantasy setup, as in the 9th century an army just barely defeats an unnamed 'nightmare' enemy, then splits the body in three and buries the pieces across the world to prevent it's resurrection. The BIG font used here and age-old concept is almost comedic, but the overtime-dramatic music(violin, guitar, drums, trumpet...) and gorgeous Hd-worthy visuals of 'Russia', 'A Pacific Island' and 'Medieval Yorkshire, England' makes it a fun opening. Unfortunately it turns out any further global adventuring or just simulation/fakery of such is out and the 'collect the pieces' intro makes no difference to the plot(also why do the looters of one of the piece-bearers/guards not take or even touch the piece? They're looters, surely they would at least be curious if the package was valuable?). At least we get this opening!
Cut to the modern day, where New Years Day Party-coupled Lin(Charlotte Ritchie) and Mitch(Rikesh Patel) have snuck into the excavation site they're archaeology students at out-of-hours- only to discover the aforementioned piece they've been studying is missing. The obvious cliches/predictions here of 'their relationship will be developed' and 'their relationship will be tragically cut short by one or both of them being messed up by the plot/alien' are interestingly avoided, and their banter quickly and entertainingly tips us off about the situation(mentions of Richard III's discovery and Alfred The Great, Mitch is more a glass-half-full and sociable/caring guy, Lin is more pessimistic/ antisocial and practical/impulsive, 'Must've been one cheeky rat that stole the bag...')!
Meanwhile the Doc and co enjoying New Year's Day via some lovely 'cosmic fireworks'! 13's new scarf suits her and adds to the outfit(which i like-it's just as functional an 'eccentric silhouette' as the previous ones and will be curious to see on the next Doctor in post-regeneration whether male or female!), and Graham is dressed differently/a little smarter too! Such a missed opportunity to have the Doc or Yas/Ryan in smart/formal/dressy outfits though...and of course 13/Graham ditch their scarves/new looks 5 minutes in for the rest of the hour-long episode. What was the point? Same goes for another TWENTY unseen adventures mentioned...
So the TARDIS registers an alien signal on Earth, caused by the QUARTERED DALEK STILL BEING ALIVE THOUSANDS OF YEARS LATER AND JUST TELEPORTING IT'S DISMEMBERED BODY BACK TOGETHER. Dalek Ex Machina, everyone? Mitch sees the TARDIS arrive and confusedly tells the team about the disturbance... whilst Lin's curiosity gets the better of her as she discovers the uncased Dalek free and clinging to the shadowy wall like an octopus(great CGI!). It vanishes and the team send Mitch and Lin home safe not to tell their supervisors- only they're not, as the Dalek escaped by wrapping itself round Lin and hiding underneath her coat...
And here begins the best feature of the entire episode, as it turns out an uncased Dalek can wrap around/plug itself into another living being and use THEM as their transport. Lin's terrified and futile attempts to resist the Dalek's control/possession as it threatens to make her kill the others are effective throughout, and there's no cliched 'can only be freed by love or death' either. We also see it switch hosts to Ryan's dad Aaron(Daniel Adegboyega), and his awkward relationship with Ryan and Graham over being away working(engineer on rigs or something?) and not wanting to face the losses of Ryan's mum/his wife and his mum/Ryan's nan Grace is shown to perhaps be salvegable; and Ryan's wanting-approval-but-being-distant acting alongside him and rescue as the Dalek tries to take advantage of and spitefully take the lonely Aaron down with him is a perfectly-presented climax to the plot and one of Ryan/Tosin Cole's best moments.
And the start of this plot is contrastingly amusing, as 13 decides to see Graham's place(and lands the TARDIS on his furniture lol, didn't Matt Smith's 11th Doc land it on Amy's shed or something?) and upon hearing the doorbell frowns 'Is that your intruder alarm or mine?' lol before making Graham answer it; who upon likewise wanting to avoid domestic drama and seeing it's Aaron just goes 'No' and closes the door again 'wrong number' lol, then Ryan grudgingly lets him in and 13 is like 'So you're Ryan's Dad? You weren't at Grace's funeral. Ryan waited for you, you let him down. Dads are complicated, so i've heard.'.
So that's actual humor, unintrusive advancement of the plot/character development, a new character and a rare bit of genuinely serious/restrained acting not overlong preaching or farfetched unseen reminincing switched straight from humor from Jodie Whittaker? Best scene/sequence of the episode. Meanwhile, the Dalek forces puppet Lin to hack/search the internet for the location of it's fourth and final lost part it's casing, drive to said storage base(a Dalek driving a car and breaking the speed limit 'Fast-er!' lol!), and possibly kill the two cops who promptly pull them over in order to steal their police car and jacket/id to gain access to the base(again the contrast between the carbound distracted-by-device cop noticing and cursing at the sight of her fellow cop's legs struggling as he is dragged through Lin's car window-'And how d'you spell 'Dalek'?'- lol, and said policewoman screaming as Lin tosses her colleague's body aside as Cthulu-like tentacles halo her then cut to Lin driving off in her jacket and car leaving her own car and the bodies by the roadside is brilliant.
And the final touch to the presentation is the music-throughout the episode we go from a subtle use of electro and violin, to simple realistic silence bar sounds of movement etc, to a bombastic use of drums and electro and guitar whenever the scene requires, and it's a return to Ep 1/2/3/5's individualized and memorable soundtracks for composer Segun Akinola. Music can't fix everything though, and it wouldn't be a Chibnall/Series 11 ep without a bout or two of tell-not-show preaching and expositioning, so a 'foreshadow plot here' cafe scene with Ryan's dad Aaron, a stupid/ contrived 'microwave the weakened Dalek' macguffin(yes really, a literal microwave and sales pitch...) and 'it has to be a super-special recon Dalek with an entire fleet on standby to be a proper threat(that gets defeated by a microwave)' infodump drag things down(one of Yas's only appearences throughout the entire ep-'It's even worse than the really bad thing you were worried about in the first place').
Lol Graham 'It's one squid vs several billion humans and you Doc, how bad can it be?', you have no idea! And his getting to introduce Aaron to the TARDIS after it returns from a trip('They've left without me!' and 'It travels in space and time!' lol), and Mitch's TARDIS introduction as he tells them about the historical records of the Dalek and worries about Lin(13 'It's internal dimensions are bigger than it's external dimensions, no biggie.' Mitch*looking round in disbelief*'No, that is a biggie...' lol). The reuniting of the Doc and the Daleks is just ignored though, as 13 tries to bargain with it and Lin via Mitch and a TARDIS hologram only for it to 'Blocking...signal!' and laugh at them over the intercom(convincing Dalek laugh).
The Doc's continuing battle of wits with the Dalek is great though- from the aforementioned intercom confrontation, to tracking Lin down via the CCTV and speed cameras only for her to blow up the entire junction box with the Dalek's reobtained gun, to switching to satellite imaging as the TARDIS chases down the Dalek, to attempting to call UNIT in for backup(the explanation as to why no UNIT characters etc available being 'temporarily put on hold due to finacial disputes and lack of funding from international partners' is likely a Brexit joke but still the most subtle social/political nod thsi season lol)!
That doesn't mean no Dalek action/battles though- the Lin-puppeting Dalek goes from killing the two cops to a watchman then a young guard(calling his boyfriend) and creepiest of all an unsuspecting staff member who hears the Dalek exterminating his colleagues above before it simply smashes through the roof into the room he's in. And FINALLY- 13 tracks down the Dalek where it has forced Lin to rebuild it's scattered and broken casing from the collected/stolen pieces and a workshop(why not just have this instead of the silly 'Doc builds an all-purpose undefeatable sonic from an alien teleport and some steel'?), and sends the others and a shellshocked Lin away to safety while she confronts it!
And here we get the rumored new Dalek design- a one-off neccesity due to the 'a Dalek can overcome loss of it's casing and hostility/neccessary long-distance travelling' plot, the slimmer and darker('junkyard chic?'lol) Dalek seen here nevertheless looks and sounds and acts unmistakably Dalek and makes a convincing and distinctive design! BTW phew they avoided the disaster of the previous 'rainbow Daleks' redesign(*Dalek scans the bold-faced Doc's two hearts*'THE DOCTOR IS AN ENEMY OF THE DALEKS! EXTERMINATE!').
Unfortunately 13's Doc here can't quite match the Dalek's presence; signs of familiarity or passion here are absent in favour of yet more babbling, the nadir of which is when 13's stance against the Dalek is backed up by an entire lineup of people almost too many at once for the camera and her turning to them all 'we'll stop it somehow..?' and 'was that right d'youthink?' and 'extended fam!'. Since when does THE DOCTOR, supposedly an experienced traveller who fought in a Dalek war, and has helped many people and overcome many problems from both foe and friend, and been resourceful and single-minded like the lone Dalek, now need a constant undissenting reassuring squad on backup/standby?!?
Talking of junkyard chic, more hypocrisy from 13- we finally get another look at the new TARDIS this ep and not only is it this with the wheel trim panelling and lumpy plumbing console, but now even stupider with giant 'claws' wobbling the central 'plastic icicle' column. At least the Dalek's new 'claw/grabber' looks good(no sink plunger? Heresy!), and it's casual testing out of it's gun/casing/ missiles located in it's bumps(not so silly 'Dalek bumps' now) against an Army squadron and tank that show up in UNIT's place is a complete curb-stomp that brings back the Dalek days of old(it doesn't even need massive firepower- it deflects the tank's shot and blows up the tank with one shot)!
Meanwhile 'Oh you're good, Ryan's dad! You're almost making up for your parenting deficit!*tries to track down Dalek*'No use- that Dalek just shut down the whole of Britain's internet!' Graham 'What?
On New Year's Day when everything's shut and everyone's hungover?' Ryan*shakes head in disbelief*
'What a monster' LOL! Of course we then have to have a spelling-it-out-by-