Dr Who

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Doctor Who has been mostly too boring for words this year to write extensively about, but this episode was OK so here are some thoughts upon it:

1. Original Cybermen are so creepy and the way the episode built them up piece by piece was perfect. I don't know why it's taken this long to do this story (yes, I know about Spare Parts) but it was worth it. It has a feel of "Dalek" in that it's like a deconstruction, only in reverse this time.

2. Spare Parts fans now know what Human Nature fans feel like, though. I'm not sure yet if it's a complete retcon, but probably. I don't care for Big Finish much but I do sympathise.

3. It does feel like they're not going to save Bill and she'll be (a) fridged (b) bury your gays and (c) black person dies first all at once. That said, this is Moffat, who never lets anyone stay dead. Some kind of connection to the Doctor regenerating seems like the obvious cop-out, like he tries to give her regeneration energy but she needs too much. It would be nice if the Doctor regenerated not from actual mortal injury but from choice. Maybe that's what Moff meant by doing the regen differently this time.

4. I'm not a fan of John Simm's Master but the idea of him having a terrible Ainley disguise for no obvious reason was fun enough that I'm happy to see him back. Imagine how much fun Ainley would have been in this episode, though. No scenery left unchewed!

5. I feel like more could have been made of the time speed difference. When you think about it, all that three out of four regulars actually did in this episode was get in a lift.

6. I found the whole "his real name's Dr Who!" stuff a bit cheesy and cringey. It was OK but it went on a bit too long. Similarly, I could have lived without the "Genesis!" bit at the end. It's already a pretty fanwanky story even without that sort of thing. The "man crush" bit counts here too, yes we've all been thinking it for decades but the best thing about it was that it was subtext. Promote it to text and it starts to wilt very quickly.

7. The idea that the Cybes are in constant pain is horrible, especially the volume dial bit. Some people will probably think it went a bit too far like the series 8 finale. It suits my cynical nature though.

8. Seems fairly obvious that the regeneration ties in to Tenth Planet somehow. Perhaps Tenth Planet will turn out to be a direct follow-on. Perhaps one of the Cybes in that story was Bill. I do wonder how they'll handle the whole "twin planet" thing, will they make Mondas another parallel Earth? Surely they won't stick with the "different planet, same continents, upside down" silliness?

9. Moff may be the only Who writer ever who actually makes good use of the Cybes. To say they're the second most popliar old school baddie most of their actual stories were weak. He writes them the way Robert Holmes would have done if he hadn't hated returning monsters on principle.

10. That said, I'm sceptical as to how he's going to incorporate other cyberdesigns next week. I guess the idea is that as the society spread upwards they continued to upgrade, but other new series designs are too similar to Cybusmen which were the first of their kind, so that would feel a bit too coincidental. HOWEVER, for a long time I've nursed the idea of a conflict between two different cyber factions each of which is upgrading the other at a constant rate so neither side actually gets anywhere. In my head it was Tomb Cybermen verses new series ones. So it will be nice if we finally get something a bit similar to that.

11. Although this was a Bill-centric episode she's still super-generic. You could hot-swap her with Rose or Amy or even Sarah Jane in this episode and pretty much nothing would need to change. Pearl gave one of her best performances but she's wasted on material that doesn't really give her much room to develop as a character. If she leaves next week or at Christmas she'll ultimately be forgotten, I fear.

12. I'll be honest I have been mostly bored by the Missy redemption arc, but I'm still disappointed if, as seems to be the case, it's essentially over now and she's proper bad again. I do hold out hope that she might be merely pretending to be on John Simm's side and will actually save the day because otherwise the arc consisted of little more than a couple of cries and impersonating the Doctor. We still don't know what made the TARDIS go from Mars to Earth randomly either. More importantly, the Doctor doesn't seem concerned to find out, or find it at all suspicious that it provided Missy with such a neat way to rescue them. This has been one of my recurrent problems with Moffwho, that characters often just seem to accept events at face value and not question them. Aside from reducing the overall drama it makes them less convincing as real people.

13. I wouldn't be surprised if this ep gets the best AI since series 8. People worry that the general pube (as I affectionately know the general public) don't like the more fanwanky stuff but I think they do if it's done well. This whole episode had a bit of a Stolen Earth vibe in that respect, it seemed like Doctor Who relaxing and just being Doctor Who for once instead of trying too hard to be something else.

14. It's nice that Moff seems to be going out on a high because his last few episodes, while still generally better than most other writers', have been a bit lacklustre. The monk three-parter was a bit of a mess, even if Extremis was probably the best of the three.

ETA: I was right about the AI, highest since two seasons ago


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