Doctor Who: Rosa
October 21, 2018 12:00 PM - Season 11, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Montgomery, Alabama, 1955. The Doctor and her friends find themselves in the Deep South of America. As they encounter a seamstress by the name of Rosa Parks, they begin to wonder whether someone is attempting to change history.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (101 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 


We've come a long way... but not long enough... Man Refuses To Sit Next Elderly Black Woman On Ryanair Flight To London
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


Just to note that right now the Wikipedia entry is all over the place, with significant details wrong - I guess it will be cleaned up soon enough.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:20 PM on October 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I know that Who plotlines often fall apart like bad knitting when you pull at a single thread, I know this.

I also know that most science fiction studies the concerns of the times it was written in, but..

The most depressing aspect of the episode (for me) was that far into the future whenever the villianous other Time Traveler came from.. such bald faced racisim *still exists* - that is assuming that when he said 'You People' he was infact referring to Black People and not say.. humans or something else
posted by Faintdreams at 1:11 PM on October 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


Hmm. Reithian Who is not my favourite kind of Who.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:13 PM on October 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


As terrible a person as he is, I'm looking forward to seeing more of Krasko, Time Dick.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:37 PM on October 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


I tend to check the buzz on Twitter after a Doctor Who episode and this one is being very well received with a surprising number of people hailing it as one of the best episodes ever.

I can see what they're getting at. It tackled an important historical moment in a sensitive and gripping way. It was really well written, as in the way that Yaz and Ryan in particular deal with 1955 and meeting Rosa Parks was really well done. As an episode, having three companions made sense and they all had things to do.

The way that the setting felt very scary was - in itself - scary. Because 1955 Alabama was a real place. It really put you right into it. That scene with the cop in the Motel. Ryan getting punched at the start.

The villain was good too. A time traveller who can't harm or kill anyone so has to try and mess up the logistics of things. I note that Ryan sent him back in time a random amount so perhaps he'll crop up again.

The episode felt a bit Quantum Leapy. although if you re-watch some Quantum Leap (and you really should, its excellent) its kindof the opposite way round - each Quantum Leap episode is like an emotional puzzle and Sam has to figure out the right way to tell someone what they need to do. And so it tends to focus on 'normal' people's lives because to portray time travellers influencing historical figures too much quickly gets iffy because you're re-framing the heroism of real people to make your imaginary time travelling hero look better. So Quantum Leap avoided that by 'helping' normal people with their life decisions in interesting historical settings. This episode of Doctor Who gets around that problem in a completely different way - the hero was going to do their thing anyway, the Doctor and companions have to prevent someone from mucking it up. Its a great set up, and so you have people stealing busses and interrupting fishermen to scrabble events back into place. You can imagine a whole series like that. But perhaps it would get boring, with so much of the focus being on logistics.

Its interesting that this series feels very different, but the Doctor being female doesn't seem to have a great deal to do with the difference. The doctor is basically a very unpredictable unknowable alien, so when presented with something, you never know if the doctors reaction will be one of joy, fear, anger, etc. Try this in your head: The Doctor is presented with a banana. They react with joy/fear/anger. You can make that work in your head with basically any reaction and any of the Doctors including this one. I'm used to Jodie Whittaker already, I was used to her about 10 mins into the first episode so shes just the Doctor now and thats that.

But this all feels different. I think they've tried to move away from achingly clever episodes that had to have 10 different plot twists. They're aiming for something different now, with the relationships between the four main characters. I think this is going to get really interesting.
posted by memebake at 3:38 PM on October 21, 2018 [14 favorites]


I don't see how you can bring back Krasko in another episode without giving too much screen time to his ideology, which is way too real right now for this viewer's comfort.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 5:50 PM on October 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


I... liked it? Despite the achingly bad American South accents I liked what they did here. This could have so easily veered into eye-roll-inducing preachiness but I found it very affecting. I liked that they let Rosa make her own decisions and didn't take her agency away. I liked that they had the characters of color pissed about how really bad things were in the past and still acknowledge that race relations in the future/present are still pretty bad. I liked how horrified Graham was to realize he was going to be there in that historic moment and on the wrong side of history.

The timey wimey stuff is as nonsensical as ever. Why are the vilain's time tools in an invisible suitcase? Why is the vortex manipulator, a device which can transport you anywhere in time and space without the need for a big clunky TARDIS somehow meant to be worse than the TARDIS? Does it mess up your DNA or something? I'm a bit confused about the temporal displacement thingy. I could swear the Doctor said it kills you by sending you someplace really nasty in the future (or past?) but then the villain wouldn't be able to use it because he has a chip or something that doesn't let him kill. I guess if that were the case she would be pretty upset with Ryan for using it on whats-his-villain-face. Where in the past did it send him? Is he kicking it with early hominids?
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:02 PM on October 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


SO glad it wasn't another outing for the "this historical event/idea was the Doctor's doing all along / the Doctor is the inspiration for (insert historical figure)'s breakthrough" trope. So glad. I was kind of dreading this one after the previews last week, but they zigged instead of zagged. Whew.

I'd watch Edgelord of the Future get outsmarted, zapped into the wrong end of the timeline, and generally outdone a few times, if it's spaced out over a season.
posted by cage and aquarium at 6:49 PM on October 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I just started watching and paused it at one minute in feeling very "Please... just no." I'll turn it back on and watch it in a sec, but I just know they are going to add aliens to the civil rights struggle, and by the great seal of Rassilon, daleks are the only racists I want to see in Doctor Who. (Also I didn't like the Vincent episode because I thought the story would have worked 100 percent better without an invisible alien.)
posted by Catblack at 7:47 PM on October 21, 2018


Pretty uncomfortable watching in our house; Who doesn't often get quite so preachy/topical, and the accents were *amazing*, but the more we watched the better it got (and it's not like American TV doesn't stick its nose into other people's history with equally terrible accents). Time-racist was suitably sneery, and I think they stuck the landing, right?

At the "in fact she changed the universe" line, I was fearing they'd show us some invented, cringe-worthy thing, so the asteroid was a lovely surprise. It's real, and can be found in JPL's small body database if you search on 284996 or Rosaparks (I couldn't find a way to deep link it).
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:53 PM on October 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


I just know they are going to add aliens to the civil rights struggle
Heh, aye, that's the cringe-worthy thing I thought they were going to show us at the end...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:04 PM on October 21, 2018


I... liked it? Despite the achingly bad American South accents I liked what they did here. This could have so easily veered into eye-roll-inducing preachiness but I found it very affecting.

This is where I was with the whole deal. The second I saw what it was about, I considered skipping it entirely. I'm glad I didn't. I think they did a pretty good job with the material, especially by, (as you guys have already noted), avoiding having the protagonists be the secret reason this all happened.

Also, the situation with Yasmin - where people mistook her for an entirely different ethnic group, and her specific status in racially charged situations was ambiguous - was a surprising amount of nuance from a show like that, IMO. I'm unused to having that form of representation in pop culture. (Being POC but not readily identifiable can lead to some weird interactions in my personal experience.)

Oh, and I felt like the companions were better used this episode than last time, which was good.

So... yeah. Pleasant surprise.
posted by mordax at 9:44 PM on October 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I thought this episode's heart was very much in the right place and I definitely didn't hate it, but lord, was it a preachy affair. I grew up loving stuff like Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and MASH so I have a pretty high preachy TV tolerance, but the preachiness in this one was just kind of... artless.

It kept making me think of the "message" episodes of American shows from decades ago. Like, a lesser episode of Quantum Leap, or a pretty good Sliders. (I don't know where they actually shot it but there were segments where I'd swear they were on the old Universal backlot.) Even though I was 100 percent down with the message, the way it was delivered struck me as clumsy and super retro. There was no subtext and from frame one we knew exactly who was good and who was bad, and there was never any twist to it. No, I'm not asking for sympathetic racists, but I am asking for more nuanced storytelling.

It felt like it was aimed at kids in a way that this show usually doesn't. Way back when there was a US show called Voyagers, about a swashbuckling steampunk guy and a 1980-something kid who'd travel through time setting history right when it went awry. It was a fun show, for kids. Every episode ended with the characters turning to the camera and saying, "If you want to learn more about (historical subject of the week) check out your local library." At the end of this episode I half expected the Doctor to tell us to go to the library and learn more about Rosa Parks!

I'm usually pretty forgiving of this show's plot holes, but this one was full of lulus. I kept wondering why the Doctor's crew didn't just lock the bad guy up someplace so he couldn't cause trouble. Why didn't they toss him in the TARDIS and dump him someplace safe? They kept acting like he was this unstoppable force when he was just one lone asshole who couldn't even hurt them! And why were they having to sit around in the hotel looking up all this info on paper, instead of using the TARDIS' data banks like usual?

I did think the show did an effective job portraying the racial discrimination of 1955, but I thought they really whiffed it in the depiction of the treatment of women. Yaz and the Doctor's outfits and behavior would have been pretty scandalous in that environment, and many of the men encountering them would have been really sexist and gross. (I kept expecting some good ol' boy to call the Doctor "little lady" or accuse her of not knowing her place, and it never happened.) Maybe they felt like dealing with that would have distracted from the racial issues, but just not addressing it felt really weird.

All that being said, I DID feel like the show meant well. If it was a preachy show for kids about how great Rosa Parks was, that's not a bad thing in 2018. But I hope this kind of writing isn't what we can expect for Chibnall's run. I have no problem with this show tackling controversial issues and getting preachy... I just want it to feel more like Doctor Who doing it, and less like Voyagers.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:39 PM on October 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


One of the critiques I've heard about the way stories of the civil rights movement tend to be told is that they overemphasize the role of individual heroes and downplay the fact that many, many people were organizing and movement building and doing less glamorous work behind the scenes. And as much as the world needs antiracist stories right now, and stories of inspiration and hope, stories that acknowledge both the painful realities of oppression and the real possibilities for liberation and change, I worry that this episode furthers some unhelpful and narrow versions of those stories.

Like, as important and inspiring and brave as Rosa Parks was, it seems fairly troublesome to imply that if the events of that one evening had gone differently, the entire civil rights movement would have been derailed. Other Black people had refused to give up their bus seats before (including in the same year in Montgomery)--one crucial reason Rosa Parks became so famous is that the NAACP consciously decided that she would be an "ideal plaintiff for a test case against city and state segregation laws, as she was seen as a responsible, mature woman with a good reputation." Clearly, this was a good strategy and a highly successful one. But telling stories as if Parks' action was somehow cosmically unique or irreplaceable renders the resistances and acts of heroism by many other Black folks invisible--and also makes it harder to see how much resilience and power and strength reside within oppressed communities.

(Not to mention the kind of hilarious irony in the episode--small nudges can utterly transform history! But multiple time travelers running around, adding all kinds of nudges and strange interactions--that's totally fine!)
posted by overglow at 11:27 PM on October 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


I don't see how you can bring back Krasko in another episode without giving too much screen time to his ideology

Assuming he survived whichever period in the past he was dumped into, his motivation in any further encounter might well be simple revenge against the TARDIS crew.

One thing I expected and was surprised not to see, given The Doctor's strong views about such things previously, is the almighty telling-off she ought to have given Ryan for thoughtlessly interfering with the past. The show has even expressly referred to this, as in The Shakespeare Code:

Martha Jones: It's like in those films: if you step on a butterfly, you change the future of the human race.
The Doctor: Then, don't step on any butterflies. What have butterflies ever done to you?
posted by Major Clanger at 1:16 AM on October 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


Why is the vortex manipulator, a device which can transport you anywhere in time and space without the need for a big clunky TARDIS somehow meant to be worse than the TARDIS?

The vortex manipulator has been in Dr Who before, I think Captain Jack used it? And/or River Song? But the previous Doctor said also said it wasn't a nice way to time travel.

I'm a bit confused about the temporal displacement thingy. I could swear the Doctor said it kills you by sending you someplace really nasty in the future (or past?) but then the villain wouldn't be able to use it because he has a chip or something that doesn't let him kill.

It doesn't kill you, it just sends you there (so you're out of his way but technically unharmed (until you get eaten by a dinosaur or whatever)).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:02 AM on October 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


Doctor Who is Banksy. Makes perfect sense.
posted by Thella at 2:04 AM on October 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


It's been years since I eagerly waited for another Doctor Who episode. Now, with this Doctor, I'm eager again. And damn that space dust that was in my eyes at the end of this one.
posted by Thella at 2:35 AM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


One thing I expected and was surprised not to see, given The Doctor's strong views about such things previously, is the almighty telling-off she ought to have given Ryan for thoughtlessly interfering with the past.

But Ryan didn't interfere much did he? I liked how he was quite careful with what he said to Rosa and MLK.

In any case, Doctor Who is wildly inconsistent about this, as it has to be. Timelords are basically galumping around in time, stopping numerous invasions and disasters all through history. Now and again there's a plot where they have to pretend to be careful not to alter history but really that only gets bought up when it suits the plot.
posted by memebake at 2:59 AM on October 22, 2018


700,000 people marched in London on Saturday in support of a second EU referendum, and the media have been talking a lot about what good (if any) protest does. Not to conflate the two separate issues, but I think there's a (certainly unintentional) resonance between that and the moral of "Rosa" that even one person standing up for a just cause can have an effect.
posted by Beverley Westwood at 3:39 AM on October 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


I really like this one. I think the writing was much better than the previous two episodes, and it cohered a lot better. I do feel like Ryan and Yas' conversation by the dumpster felt a little on the nose but understand why it was there. I also have reservations about the notion that history relied on Rosa Parks making her stand on that particular day, but that was the core assumption of the episode but we have to go with it. But I really like that Rosa did not need encouragement or help, other than to stop outside interference. Our heroes jobs was, essentially, to get out of the way and let things happen. And wow was the threat level of the racist undercurrent delivered very well.

Actually that does me bring me to the last element, the villain was really weedy and unimpressive. The racist cop was far scarier than him. I think this might have just been a bit of miscasting, the actor looked too much like a charming rogue than a villain. And maybe there's a point there, but I never felt any sense of threat from him.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:24 AM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


And why were they having to sit around in the hotel looking up all this info on paper, instead of using the TARDIS' data banks like usual?

There does seem to be some clunky editing/writing this series. Last episode you had a lot of dialogue about the water being deadly but no actual consequences to it. This episode the baddie did something to the Tardis and made it shimmer, then later they holed up in a hotel and relied on their memory rather than returning to the Tardis. I think he was probably supposed to have locked or disabled the Tardis somehow but the explanation got lost.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:37 AM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


re: Why the Motel, they address this is in the dialogue:

"Why can't we just stay in the TARDIS?"

"Our friend with the temporal displacement weapon's got eyes on it. We go in and out of there, we're going to run into him again and I don't want to just yet. Not till we've figured this out."
posted by memebake at 5:42 AM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


My girlfriend and I guessed the wrong twist to the end. Our theory was that due to the racist bus driver having the day off, the Doctor would insist that Graham would have to fill in and play the part of the racist. The pieces were coming together: he's a bus driver already, he said several times he didn't want to be part of the event... it would have been heartbreaking to see him have to deny Rosa a seat for the greater good of history and I'm glad the story didn't put him through that.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:41 AM on October 22, 2018 [19 favorites]


I was pleased that they didn't erase that Rosa was already an activist. The version given to schoolchildren in the USA is basically just that she was a random woman who was just tired that day and finally hit the end of her patience with this nonsense, and, if it goes deeper than that, talks about the logistics of the bus strike. Rosa Parks fought for civil rights before the bus arrest and kept on for the rest of her life, and that part often gets erased in the narrative.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:02 AM on October 22, 2018 [37 favorites]


Servo5678 : Yeah, we had the same idea. Having seen the other responses in the thread talking about how important it was that the protagonists just got out of the way and let history happen, I'm also glad they didn't go that way.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:05 AM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


runcibleshaw: The timey wimey stuff is as nonsensical as ever. Why are the vilain's time tools in an invisible suitcase?

To keep any random person from stumbling upon them and taking them? (Then why leave it in the middle of a big room, where someone could literally stumble over them? Invisible coffee table! -- Oh right, he put a ton of heavy-duty padlocks that scream "NOTHING INTERESTING IN HERE")


Beverley Westwood: the moral of "Rosa" that even one person standing up for a just cause can have an effect.

And the baddie's ability was to creatively find ways to subtly nudge history off-course, reinforcing the fact that small actions can make a change, but none of the "flapping of a butterfly's wings" cascading effect tropey fluff.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:12 AM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also super nice: all the loving references to Ryan's nan, and it felt like more than an obligatory "I wish my Nan were here to see this," but almost built her up to the point of being the invisible 5th member of the team.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


I thought this was much better than I was fearing it might be. It was a bit heavy-handed in places, but overall, a great history lesson at a good time to have it. Also, I just love that all the companions have prior history with one another that's on different levels (schoolmates with perhaps-a-crush, a step-grandad who was outshone by his fantastic wife who now has to stand on his own and build a relationship with his grandson...love it!), and the new baddie seems to be grounded in some Earth racism, which is pretty shocking to hear, when lots of science fiction uses metaphor for that specific type of evil. I liked it a lot.
posted by xingcat at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


So if Krasko has a time displacement gun that he can use, and he wants to stop Rosa Parks, why didn't he just zap Rosa Parks to another time and be done with his entire mission?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:54 AM on October 22, 2018


I really loved that Time Dick Krasko was physically unable to kill anyone and could only interfere in smaller and less dramatic ways like getting the bus driver to take a day off, or slashing the bus's tires, or posting "bus out of service" notices. It made things a lot more interesting.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:55 AM on October 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Re: the time displacement gun...this is pure speculation, mind you, but maybe it's relatively easy to explain away a couple of inanimate objects showing up in whatever period he had the gun set to, but not so much an anachronistic human being who's also a famous historical figure. That might have been enough to get the Time Fuzz on his tail.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:58 AM on October 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


TIME FUZZ

THEY'VE GOT PROBABLE CAUSALITY

WEDNESDAYS AT 8:30, 7:30 CENTRAL ON NBC

PRESENTED IN COLOR



Not sorry.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:02 AM on October 22, 2018 [23 favorites]


I thought the plan _was_ to Time Gun Rosa into the distant future before the Doctor busted his shit.

On the one hand I appreciate Doctor Who as more than just bubbly light entertainment, on the other hand _oof_.
posted by Kyol at 9:44 AM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


After Jodie Whitaker was announced, so many people said things like “the SJWs are going to ruin the show” and I feel like this episode pretty solidly told those people “We don’t want you.” Mr Rogers would look to this Doctor, especially, as a helper, and she is on the right side of history. I didn’t realize how much I needed this.

I also thought Graham was getting set up to be the bus driver and was relieved it didn’t go that way. That would have been devastating for him.
posted by Ruki at 9:59 AM on October 22, 2018 [14 favorites]


Kyol: I thought the plan _was_ to Time Gun Rosa into the distant future before the Doctor busted his shit.

I think that was a Plan Z, after Plans A through Y failed (including being an intimidating prick, getting her bus a [less racist?] driver, busting up her bus, and putting up "route cancelled" signs, from what I recall from the episode). He was more excited about the cerebral "small nudges" he could enact that wouldn't mess up time in a big way -- she wouldn't stop existing in this time and suddenly appear far in the future, she'd just not start the bus boycott on that day.

(So instead she'd start it the next day, or the following week? Yeah, stop picking at the loose threads, I know.)

Because if his plan was to Time Gun Rosa into the distant future, he would have done it once he identified her as Rosa Parks, right?

Which plays well into the racist notion of being the Superior, Smarter race and all that bunk. He doesn't need to kill her, he just plays his advanced game of chess and bumps her a bit, because he's such a smartie.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:21 AM on October 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


After Jodie Whitaker was announced, so many people said things like “the SJWs are going to ruin the show” and I feel like this episode pretty solidly told those people “We don’t want you.”

Yes, this: it felt like a flag being solidly planted.

It's also the show, and the Doctor, saying yes, racism exists and it matters. That feels very different to him handwaving away Martha's concerns in The Shakespeare Code:
MARTHA: Oh, but hold on. Am I all right? I'm not going to get carted off as a slave, am I?
DOCTOR: Why would they do that?
MARTHA: Not exactly white, in case you haven't noticed.
DOCTOR: I'm not even human. Just walk about like you own the place. Works for me.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:40 AM on October 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


This episode the baddie did something to the Tardis and made it shimmer, then later they holed up in a hotel and relied on their memory rather than returning to the Tardis. I think he was probably supposed to have locked or disabled the Tardis somehow but the explanation got lost.

He first tried to just enter the TARDIS, but it was locked to him. Then, he shot at it with...something...and the TARDIS repelled whatever energy weapon he used. That was the “shimmer” you saw. Sort of a force field that repels energy weapons. I guess. He didn’t render the TARDIS off limits to the Doctor and the gang, at least that’s how I read it.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:18 PM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think it's also the new Doctor Who team planting a flag and saying "we can make historical episodes that take advantage of history rather than sheepishly trying to work around it or just using it as theming". It's an important part of the premise, but so often in Doctor Who the historical episodes don't really engage with the setting.
posted by Merus at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


so many people said things like “the SJWs are going to ruin the show”
What show were those people watching?. Yes, I'm gatekeeping.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:51 PM on October 22, 2018


"Our friend with the temporal displacement weapon's got eyes on it. We go in and out of there, we're going to run into him again and I don't want to just yet. Not till we've figured this out."

Funny, I honestly don't remember that line at all. Maybe I missed it flipping back from commercials or something. It does explain why they didn't use the TARDIS computers, but it doesn't explain why the Doctor felt the need to hide from this mook. He was just some rando future racist shithead who was literally incapable of killing anybody. She could have easily eliminated him as a threat in any number of ways but instead she skulked around for a few days letting him do all this bad stuff. Maybe they could have explained it with some line about how she didn't know if he was acting alone, or she wasn't sure if this guy's dicking around was already a part of existing history so maybe it wasn't safe to interfere, but if there was any explanation I guess I missed that too.

Having had some time to think about the episode, I do feel like its heart was truly in the right place and maybe that's what matters most. It's a story that's gonna piss off racists and educate kids, and those are very good things to do. But it does trouble me that a story this ham-fisted got through so early in Chibnall's run. I applaud its good intentions, but good intentions aren't necessarily the same thing as good storytelling.

I was also wondering if Graham was going to have to be the bus driver, and while that would have been dramatic I'm kind of glad they didn't go there. He would be forced to take on the role of this man his late wife particularly despised, and that would be like punishing Graham for a crime he didn't commit.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2018


Okay, so far this season, all three villains have *disappeared* - Tim Shaw, the Game Master, Krasko. All feel like they could return. Will the Doctor and her Companions have to battle a League of Villains at the end of the season?
posted by crossoverman at 2:05 PM on October 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


I liked how it was essentially the plot of back to the future 2 (and set 25 days after it).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:05 PM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Time Gun

Clock Glock
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:28 PM on October 22, 2018 [16 favorites]


The judges would also have accepted "Siderealarm".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:29 PM on October 22, 2018 [16 favorites]


I liked episode 1, episode 2 was kind of meh, but this, this was a great episode. It educates, it entertains, it's just... great.
posted by Pendragon at 2:35 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Whenchester.

Okay, now I'm done. Or willan I on-be?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2018 [17 favorites]


At the "in fact she changed the universe" line, I was fearing they'd show us some invented, cringe-worthy thing, so the asteroid was a lovely surprise.

I liked the episode overall, but I found the asteroid reveal kind of cringe-worthy myself. After the "she changed the universe" line, I expected some reveal that Parks and the civil rights movement had impact even beyond earth in the distant future, perhaps when humans had spread to other worlds. It certainly would have been possible to go too big with this and have it be cringe-worthy in the opposite direction, but I would have liked to have seen something reasonably significant along these lines.

As it is, having an asteroid named after her is... not changing the universe at all. The asteroid was there before it was named Rosaparks. It would still be there if it wasn't named Rosaparks. It's a memorial to her, to be sure, but far from the most significant one in our time, and no indication is given on the show that it becomes particularly significant in the future, which leaves me with a big "so what? How is the universe changed?"

But that's a minor nitpick in what I found to be overall a quite satisfying episode.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]


I really liked the episode, and think the Doctor is becoming a fast favourite. I also liked that this episode gave the companions room to interact and breathe, even if some of the writing was very on the nose. The alien story bored me and I didn't care for it but otherwise enjoyed - particularly how the scenes felt so menacing instead of the "quaint nostalgia" you normally get.
posted by liquorice at 2:53 PM on October 22, 2018


I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as worried for the companions as I was this episode, even knowing that everything would turn out fine.
posted by bettafish at 5:19 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I like the sort of petulant / saucy attitude while scanning with the sonic. "OH YEAH? Well...." SCAN SCAN SCAN
posted by Wink Ricketts at 5:53 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]


but it doesn't explain why the Doctor felt the need to hide from this mook.
The Doctor suspected that he had the neural net implant based on a reading on the sonic but wasn't 100% sure (which she says to him the next time she meets him). So yeah, the Doctor wasn't quite sure how much of a threat he posed to others yet and wanted to do the research first.
posted by acidnova at 6:29 PM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


When Ryan sent racist time traveler back in time, my immediate thought was, "no...now he can meddle so much more!" which is my guess for a possible season arc? Chasing down the rogue time traveler to "put right what once went wrong"?
posted by acidnova at 6:31 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]




I liked the episode. In particular, I'm really glad they didn't have the (far-too-common) cop-out of a "nice" contemporaneous white character to act as an audience insert for white viewers uncomfortable with the state of affairs back then. And Rose was great - nobody in our party inspired her, nobody urged her to do the right thing. All they did was clear artificial barriers to allow it to happen. It was all her. And! the show recognized and referenced her activism substantially predating the boycott.

I liked Graham being aware of his complicity - he was among the standing white folks who necessitated Rosa's move without a cringe-worthy showdown between them. I was afraid that (him being a bus driver and all) the show would somehow end up with him driving the bus under an assumed name to enable the events to come to pass as expected. Thank god they didn't.

Having Yaz's race assumed (incorrectly) felt about right - I know some folks who end up getting categorized as a race they are not because humans will pattern-match as best they can manage. (And the chance that anyone living in Montgomery at the time had met a person of Pakistani/Desi descent was ... small.)

And Ryan getting to shake MLK's hand is, frankly, a bit of fanservice I'm okay with.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:06 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]


Travon Free: "This episode is the first in the history of all 37 seasons of #DoctorWho that was written by a person of color. Malorie Blackman, who wrote this, is only the 6th woman to write an episode. It's immediately the most iconic episode in my book. It's really fantastic. So powerful."

Via TMS: Doctor Who Brings History to Poignant Life With Rosa Parks
posted by homunculus at 7:26 PM on October 22, 2018 [11 favorites]




filthy light thief: Also super nice: all the loving references to Ryan's nan, and it felt like more than an obligatory "I wish my Nan were here to see this," but almost built her up to the point of being the invisible 5th member of the team.

The Doctor has left other companions in altered timelines. I'm starting to suspect (hope) that we haven't seen the last of Grace.
posted by cheshyre at 7:29 PM on October 22, 2018


A Blunt Episode of Doctor Who Harkens Back to Its Educational Core
Back in 1963 (just eight years after Rosa Parks’ protest and arrest that fateful December night in Montgomery, Alabama), when Doctor Who was in its earliest days, it was intended to be an educational show for families as much as it was a sci-fi drama. It’s why the first companions to the Doctor—Susan, Ian, and Barbara—were a young schoolgirl, a science teacher, and a history teacher. The time travel ability of the TARDIS was less for visiting alien worlds than it was getting a window into human history—Doctor Who’s very first story is a journey back to 100,000 BC, after all, and not an alien planet.
posted by homunculus at 9:00 PM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


The final bus scene is so meta. People will literally (not figuratively) stand by and do nothing while someone in their midst is treated unjustly. People who should know better will justify their inaction with any convoluted reasoning they can muster.

That was excellent multi-layered writing.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 9:27 PM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


Black director too. And dammit, if we can put up with all the Shakespeare or Dickens fanboying, we can let people lionise the very deserving Rosa Parks.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:07 PM on October 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


The Doctor got all heroic & inspirational when she was talking about “We have to protect history instead of changing it this time!” I thought that would be a pretty grim hard labor sentence for a time lord. Being cursed to travel through time keeping everything on track to happen the same way it happened the first time.
posted by bleep at 10:56 PM on October 22, 2018


So yeah, the Doctor wasn't quite sure how much of a threat he posed to others yet and wanted to do the research first.

But the Doctor figured out he wasn't capable of harming anybody fairly early on and then she continued to hide out and let him go around doing bad stuff they'd have to fix. And the poster who pointed out the problems of sending Future Mook back to the ancient past was spot on! The ancient past is the LAST place to send a guy bent on changing the future, and the Doctor should have really griefed Ryan about that. As soon as the Doctor figured out what this guy was up to, why didn't she chuck him in the TARDIS and take him back to the future jail? I'm guessing tampering with the past would be pretty darn illegal in his time, and she'd have plenty of evidence to help convict him.

Again, I didn't actually hate this episode, despite its flaws, and it's becoming clear just how much a lot of other people liked it. I don't want to be a big buzzkill meany. But despite its obvious good intentions and some great moments, to me it felt like a Very Special Episode with lots and lots of nits to pick.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:58 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Interesting Twitter thread here about how the refusal to give up her seat was actually a planned premeditated protest.

Though the episode does show her as one of a group of activists it continues the myth that Rosa Parks was just tired after a long day.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:59 PM on October 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah it did bug me that the doctor called the gun lethal and nasty several times, but seemed deeply unbothered that Ryan used it on him. Maybe it'll come up later? There seems to be a bit of a theme developing of Ryan being far more willing to resort to conflict than the doctor.

I think the space racist couldn't actually shoot people with the time gun, and was bluffing, at least that was my assumption from what the Doctor said.

it continues the myth that Rosa Parks was just tired after a long day.

While it wasn't as explicit as it could be, I thought it was clear that Rosa was making a stand, not just tired, but you're right that it wasn't clear that it was planned. I think part of the writing issue there was that the plot hinged on the protest happening at this particular time mattering, but if, as we know, it was planned, then it would have just happened another day.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:39 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Doctor Who goes back to its roots with Rosa:
Rosa works for the same reason that Malorie Blackman – the writer of this week's story – is such a skilful author of young adult fiction, in that a good Doctor Who historical and a good young adult novel often share the same commonality: a feeling that the powerful adults in the room are doing terrible things and that you can survive and muddle through but you can't actually stop it – and in some cases, you might not even survive...

This week's monster is as much the setting as it is Krasko: the casually violent passers-by, the violent and threatening police officers, the racist bus drivers. Just as in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve or An Unearthly Child, the past is a scary, unruly place where even the Doctor can't fix things: because it's the past, and it already happened that way.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:02 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I was vastly more afraid for Yaz and Ryan (and Graham, for his continual norm-breaching) here - especially Ryan - than I was when they were on that supposedly "deadliest planet in the universe" in the first ep of the season. I had to keep pausing this episode to get my breath back.
posted by Mogur at 5:55 AM on October 23, 2018 [12 favorites]


t doesn't kill you, it just sends you there (so you're out of his way but technically unharmed (until you get eaten by a dinosaur or whatever)).

They did send a guy whose plan was to Sound of Thunder the civil rights movement out of existence back to dinosaur times.
posted by Artw at 6:08 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


A guy who's constitutionally incapable of violence against any living creature

He's going to fucking starve

I've watched the episode! And I liked it. Montgomery was fantastically menacing, I liked how little the plot hinged on weird sci-fi and was just historical, the plot was a little contrived but I liked the conceit of 'the Doctor is part of history and no-one's having fun' and I think they're definitely building an arc with Ryan and Grace. Grace is casting a shadow over the series, just as I hoped back in episode one, and it's becoming increasingly clear that Ryan's thing is not 'feel sorry for him, he's disabled' but 'Ryan doesn't think about consequences'. Ryan's willingness to shoot his way out of a problem is 100% going to come back to bite him at some point (e.g. if any Daleks turn up, and it's Doctor Who so I mean come on), and I'm kind of excited to see Doctor Who have character arcs instead of plot arcs for a change.

Looking forward to the next episode because I'd like to see this series do a straight up monster thing. It's been a little bit obviously built around a moral so far and there's a bit in the back of my mind wondering if Chibnall's drawing inspiration from the first series in more ways than just a larger cast.
posted by Merus at 6:52 AM on October 23, 2018


Definitely! I really appreciated Yaz having more to do, both plot- and character-wise, too.
posted by Mogur at 6:59 AM on October 23, 2018


TIME FUZZ

THEY'VE GOT PROBABLE CAUSALITY

WEDNESDAYS AT 8:30, 7:30 CENTRAL ON NBC

PRESENTED IN COLOR


Totally stealing this. Yoink!
posted by Mogur at 7:00 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I thought this was straight-up excellent. As others have said, I like that they didn't get in Rosa Parks's way but cleared out the obstacles so that she could be who she was. I like that Graham had to continue to stand on the bus, and literally be part of the problem -- it was so painful for him, and a much more simple and elegant solution than if they'd had him drive the bus.

To those who think it's a plot hole that she could simply have refused to stand on some other night, I disagree. The point is made early in the episode that Time Dick's plan is that any tiny little change can affect history. Suppose Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the next night instead. Maybe it would be a different bus driver who made her get off the bus but didn't call the cops. Maybe a different set of cops or judges would have let her off without making a fuss. If it had been a week later, maybe people would have been too caught up with other matters to care enough to start a boycott. It's impossible to predict what might have happened, and that was Time Dick's point. The meeting at her house certainly suggests that this was premeditated, and the episode leaves that more or less ambiguous (because it's not important to the story).

Also, I never understand those who say "why didn't she just lock him up at the beginning of the episode" or similar things in other contexts. The answer is always - because it's a TV show and they need to build tension between the protagonist and antagonist for 45 minutes. There's plenty of in-universe explanations -- the one that occurs to me is that the Doctor doesn't just go around apprehending people -- but overall it doesn't matter.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:35 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I loved this episode. The stakes were super high. I felt the danger in every interaction. I didn't know what was going to happen next. I think this episode proves that good writing is not just one kind of thing. This new "golden age of television" thing tends to obscure the fact that while complex layers of interlocking themes and puzzle-plotted continuity can, yes, lead to compelling watching, there are other ways to do it, too. I think Doctor Who is a good fit for on-the-nose dialog, broadness, and explicit moralizing. But what Chibnall's team has done so far is to do all those things without resorting to the outright panto that the show has been know to devolve into.

The conversation between Yaz and Ryan in the back alley was really moving, and keeping Grace in the picture feels like it's building towards something. And Jodie Whittaker is doing such a great job. The Doctor, as always, can get away with anything, but she's got to protect her companions. Protecting their hearts is always a different story, though.

I wish Space Racist Time Dick weren't so topical, but I'm glad to see the show addressing current problems and historical context, and doing so in a relatively nuanced (though necessarily imperfect) way.
posted by rikschell at 7:52 AM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Literally within seconds of seeing him my kid was all “that’s a neonazi from the future” and I’m simultaneously proud and a bit worried that she’s able to ID him as such so quickly. What a world.

They could have given him the full fashy haircut but that would be lampshading a bit.
posted by Artw at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Soooo, on the one hand I did find several elements of this episode to be ehhhhhh slightly cringey. Doctor Who does not typically do the Pop Song At the Coda thing (Vincent and the Doctor being the other exception, though I found it way less jarring there) and I didn't think it worked at all here. And some of the other stuff that others have mentioned. But there were several elements that did land, especially the general feeling of banal menace.

On the other hand, it really drove home for me that my dislike of the Moffat years was not just Bitter Haterade (though my Haterade does have a delicate nose and sophisticated highlights of citrus and manure because I have aged it very carefully in only the finest oak barrels) but that the man really truly does write words that are just nails on chalkboard to me when put together into sentences. Like, I just want to run screaming and jump off something to get away from them. Because as meh as I found some elements of Rosa (and let's be honest, all three of these initial episodes), I did not feel that same omg I'm crawling out of my skin this is unbearable halp halp feeling at any point during any of them. Any bits that were meh were meh in the same inoffensive way that many many Doctor Who episodes not overseen by Steven Moffat have been meh. I mean, I'm not signing myself up to rewatch Rise of the Cybermen any time soon, either, but I don't want to toss it directly into a volcano.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also, yeah, the erasure of Rosa Parks participation in a planned protest is a big peeve of my husband's, so I've already heard several lectures about that historical misconception. A bit disappointing to see it repeated here, but at least they did portray her as already knowing Dr. King and being involved in the civil rights movement prior to her actions.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:00 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just finished the episode. Well, subtle it was not, but one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek as a child was the one with the black/white and white/black aliens, this episode fits right in to that tradition.

One thing I really liked about this episode was the look of everything. The clothes, the people, the buildings, the cars; the BBC is spending some coin on this season.
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:39 PM on October 23, 2018


Finally saw this (thank you, roommate-with-an-X-box-and-a-deep-Dr.-Who-habit). We had an interesting conversation after - he's still mulling, he says, since he's always seen the whole gestalt of The Doctor as being an anarchic, jump-in-and-do-stuff force, and so The Doctor "taking action" in this episode by preserving the time line and yet allowing Rosa Parks to get arrested felt wrong to him. I felt that The Doctor is more of a preserve-the-time-line kind of gal, and in this case doing so meant that they had to let Rosa Parks get arrested. He still disagreed, but admitted that any other option (The Doctor stops Rosa's arrest! The Doctor saves the day!) would have been even worse.

On a much more petty note - I would really, really like TV to retire the music trope of "Civil Rights character as guest star gets a theme of noble-sounding French horns on the score", please.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 AM on October 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Someone on Twitter mentioned this episode and last both felt very Hartnell-esque; it was more obvious with this episode’s educational historical mode, but an emerging theme of this season seems to be that the Oncoming Storm/Lonely God era of the Doctor is over, and she’s back to being a humble wanderer who does the best she can with her wits, her morals, and her friends.

Anyway, this story far outstripped my expectations — the best I was hoping for was “not too cringeworthy” but not only is it one of my favorites of the series (old or new), it was one of the most complex and morally challenging while still being accessible to kids. I did had the same complaint re: Parks’ activism as everybody else, and I get why that was a dealbreaker for some — I hope Malorie Blackman does an interview at some point where she talks about the choices she made to balance history with sci-fi there, because the story does give the impression that the writers were aware but chose to cut that. I also hope she comes back to writer more episodes in the future.

One nuance I haven’t seen mentioned yet is that Graham made things worse for himself because he let his white ally feelings get in the way of what needed to be done. If he hadn’t tried to bail out early so as not to be one of the bad white people, he wouldn’t have been the one meant to take Rosa’s seat. I also appreciated that Rosa never found out who team TARDIS really was, so the non-black members have no chance to salvage their reputations with her and that’s just how it has to be.

I’d never thought about the loaded imagery of the police box until it was pointed out in the essay someone linked above, but I did cringe a bit at “in the future, women of color can be police officers too!” as something to be uncritically optimistic about.
posted by bettafish at 9:03 AM on October 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


I loved this episode for so many reasons, most of which mentioned already. Ultimately I love Doctor Who because it is a constant reminder that the scariest monster of all is people.
posted by RhysPenbras at 12:31 PM on October 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


One thing I expected and was surprised not to see, given The Doctor's strong views about such things previously, is the almighty telling-off she ought to have given Ryan for thoughtlessly interfering with the past.

This really bothered me. Not only did Ryan use the weapon she already said he shouldn't use, but he sent villain dude to what sounds like certain death. Other Doctors would have been so angry at him for making that decision on his own. Each episode so far has had significant out-of-character moments that bug me in that way -- yes, the Doctor changes his/her nature with each regeneration, but not as much as this.

A few of my random thoughts:

The psychic paper would have been pretty helpful there, you know, Doctor? Where has it gone? We saw the vortex manipulator, so it's not like they're avoiding callbacks like that.

I'm not expecting the Southern accents to pass muster with Mr. YouTube-famous dialect coach (he's awesome), but as usual, the show was so weak with American accents.

I feel like the companions weren't sufficiently awed by time travel. I mean, come on, you're suddenly in 1950s America! (And I was disappointed to not get the "It's bigger on the inside!" reaction when the TARDIS came back, too.)

So, clearly, I keep finding myself so negative and curmudgeonly about the new episodes... I like Whittaker but I don't think they've given her enough strong material yet. I was so ready for Steven Moffat to leave (although I loved his episodes during the RTD era), and I was hoping to get back the love I had for the show in the Eccleston/Tennant years, but that isn't happening so far. I could go on, but that's enough complaining from me!
posted by trillian at 12:43 PM on October 24, 2018


Also, I never understand those who say "why didn't she just lock him up at the beginning of the episode" or similar things in other contexts. The answer is always - because it's a TV show and they need to build tension between the protagonist and antagonist for 45 minutes.

Normally I'm pretty forgiving of this show. It's not rare that when an episode is done you can look back and say, "But, what about..?" But in this case the problem was obvious to me from very early on. It was a real doozy, and I had to spend the whole episode going, "But, why don't you just take this guy out of commission somehow? Why are you treating him like a major threat while he skulks around and does all this stuff that could screw up history, when he's just one rando dickhead who is literally incapable of physically harming anybody?"

I would really, really like TV to retire the music trope of "Civil Rights character as guest star gets a theme of noble-sounding French horns on the score", please.

Yeah, that bugged me, as did the closing pop song, as did the bad guy's relentless I AM A BAD GUY theme every moment he was on screen. He was an unusually flat villain for this show and it felt like the music was trying to do a lot of heavy lifting to sell him as a threat.

Ryan is a likeable guy, but between the Call of Duty thing last episode and the time displacement thing this episode, any other version of the Doctor would have probably given up on him as a companion by now. RTD and Moffat would pay lip service to this being a kid's show while writing about all sorts of adult stuff, kind of the way Jon Stewart used to use the "I'm just a comedian" thing to deflect responsibility when people would start talking about him being the most trusted newsman in America. Based on these last few episodes, Doctor Who is feeling like a kids' show in a way that I don't remember it ever feeling before. (Even the classic series was more witty and grown-up than a lot of what we saw on American shows ostensibly for adults, even if it had really crude special effects.) I may have to adjust my expectations for the Chibnall era. Maybe it's gonna be Dinosaurs on a Spaceship every week.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2018


Having the Doctor be unable to control where the Tardis lands makes for a much better show. I hope they keep that but don’t suggest that the new Doctor is less competent than the past few.
posted by rikschell at 7:00 PM on October 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't understand calling this episode unsubtle or preachy.

It's about racism. It's about how a man's life is at risk just because he's black. It's about how humans demean and humiliate and torture and kill one another. It's about all that, in a time when white nationalism is growing in power. It's about the resilience and nerve it takes to say no to a system that wants to destroy you, in a time when those systems are gearing up the world over.

Racism isn't subtle. The whole point of segregation is to be unsubtle. You can't have a subtle take on the wrongs of racism.

And if that's preachy, then goddamn fucking preach.
posted by meese at 10:40 PM on October 24, 2018 [22 favorites]


I have zero objection to preachy lefty TV, when it's done well. But just having a worthy subject isn't enough to make something good. Somebody can agree with this show's message, as I very much did, and still find the way that message was put across to be kind of 1987 Very Special Episode. They were preaching to the choir with me, but I just didn't feel they were preaching very well.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:56 AM on October 25, 2018


Based on these last few episodes, Doctor Who is feeling like a kids' show in a way that I don't remember it ever feeling before. (Even the classic series was more witty and grown-up than a lot of what we saw on American shows ostensibly for adults, even if it had really crude special effects.)

I don't see how you can say this when this episode goes straight back to the founding formula of the show -- like, when I say it's Hartnell-esque, I mean it's straight up a First Doctor educational historical with better pacing, deeper characterization, better dialogue, less stagey acting, and far less out-of-story racism. Last episode was a callback to the second Hartnell formula, of four out of their depth time travellers trying not to die before they can get back to the TARDIS. The classic series got a lot more sophisticated between Hartnell and McCoy, of course, but for every Inferno, Ark in Space, or Caves of Androzani there are at least three serials which are only barely watchable by 2018 standards if you already like the characters.

Part of the fun of Doctor Who is that there's at least one kind of Who for everyone, but the flip side of that is that not everyone is going to like every form of Who. And that's fine! I loved four out of Moffat's six seasons, but I heard a lot of complaints in the second half of his run that it was less and less engaging for younger viewers. I don't think Chibnall's making a bad call to re-center the show on its primary demographic, even if that means occasional didacticism (which I agree is the case) or preachiness (which I don't, but even if I did, cf. meese's comment).
posted by bettafish at 9:45 AM on October 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


I’m also not sure how the team could have overpowered Krasko and gotten him back to the TARDIS (or anywhere they could keep him for a day and a half) without being spotted and attacked by local white people who would definitely side with “one of their own” over everyone on the team, including Graham. If they had Jack Harkness or Centurion Rory with them, that’d be another story, but for this particular line-up the physical danger is much higher for them, Ryan especially, than it is for Krasko. Plus, even if they all got out of it intact the disruption they’d cause for being four foreigners attacking a local white kid could easily do Krasko’s work for him.
posted by bettafish at 10:18 AM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Well Amanda Platell thinks it too worthy and we should go back to the non-PC non-political stories where the Doctor was fighting the Daleks. Yes, really.

(Amanda Platell was the ex press secetary to ex leader of the Tories, William Haig)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:28 AM on October 25, 2018


I don't see how you can say this when this episode goes straight back to the founding formula of the show

I must admit, I've seen very little of Hartnell's run. I grew up with frequent reruns of the Tom Baker era and I've seen some episodes of the other Doctors but only one or two of Hartnell. So I don't know, maybe the show started with a much more childish tone, but if so it clearly matured over time. I have seen the Baker era enough to know that it was a lot more sophisticated than most 1970s US shows aimed at adults, and certainly a lot smarter than US genre shows of the era. When I said the tone of the new episodes is striking me as more kiddie than I'm used to, I was speaking of the show as I've seen it.

I’m also not sure how the team could have overpowered Krasko and gotten him back to the TARDIS (or anywhere they could keep him for a day and a half) without being spotted and attacked by local white people

There were moments during their confrontations when nobody else was around, like when he tried to strangle the Doctor. Risking being caught knocking him out would have been a lot less risky than just letting him run around corrupting history. If all else failed she could have just materialized the TARDIS around the guy. There are certainly sci-fi, timey-wimey ways the Doctor could have easily incapacitated the guy, if she'd made up her mind to do it. Just last episode the Doctor was busting out the Venusian aikido!

But honestly, I think I've argued about this episode enough. As I've said, I didn't hate it or think it had bad intentions at all. I just didn't think it was very good.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Having the Doctor be unable to control where the Tardis lands makes for a much better show. I hope they keep that but don’t suggest that the new Doctor is less competent than the past few.

The Doctor has never really been able to control the TARDIS. I don't know if that was a founding principal of the show, but it seems to be standard operating procedure for a long time now. It's usually implied the TARDIS goes wherever the TARDIS wants to go. Or wherever the TARDIS thinks the Doctor needs to be at any particular moment. The Doctor might be heading towards Earth, but the TARDIS knows they have to go to 1955 Alabama and not back to 2018 Sheffield just yet. It's never about the competency of any particular Doctor.
posted by crossoverman at 4:20 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have to say the new TARDIS interior looked really cramped and plasticy in this episode. Maybe it was the lighting, but it really didn’t present well.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:28 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


the actor looked too much like a charming rogue than a villain

When I realized it was Daniel Grayson from Revenge, I chuckled a bit. When he tried to really act menacingly I just couldn't buy it at all. But that was my personal bias from his past work. Objectively he's an interesting villain and we might see him again.

I really liked this episode. Aside from all the comments made in relation to the subject of the episode, I think this direction of the show seems more grounded in character development for the companions, which was what I really liked with Amy and Rory.
posted by numaner at 5:34 PM on October 27, 2018


That might have been enough to get the Time Fuzz on his tail.

Which was actually Captain Jack's job before he met the Doctor. Yeah, that's an interesting extra wrinkle, the idea that he might have been able to nudge history in small enough ways that the Time Agents never caught on to him. Assuming they even still exist, given how many resets the universe has been through in this series.

Also, I know Stormcage is a thing from the Davies era, but in context I couldn't help noticing that it sounds a lot like "Stormfront".
posted by tobascodagama at 7:53 PM on October 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


I liked how horrified Graham was to realize he was going to be there in that historic moment and on the wrong side of history.

I liked that they gave him that moment of horror and then moved the fuck on, not making his sads a big thing. Not only because it didn't make a big deal over sad nice whitey, but because it also didn't bang a drum about doing horrid things for The Greater Good. Which is a pretty dicey road to walk down.

Yeah it did bug me that the doctor called the gun lethal and nasty several times, but seemed deeply unbothered that Ryan used it on him. Maybe it'll come up later? There seems to be a bit of a theme developing of Ryan being far more willing to resort to conflict than the doctor.

I think there's really only two choices here. Either that was a tremendous cock-up in character consistency or the Doctor futzed with the device in some way before leaving it around for Ryan to pocket. But unless we address it again in the future - ie, because we have not seen the last of that racist gob because why the fuck else would it come up again? - it's indistinguishable from the former.

A guy who's constitutionally incapable of violence against any living creature

He's going to fucking starve


When he pukes himself to death after eating toxic mushrooms. Don't be such a carnivorist :)
posted by phearlez at 10:35 AM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


the actor looked too much like a charming rogue than a villain

Meet the dapper white supremacist from the future who’s trying to change the past.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on November 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


I liked that they gave him that moment of horror and then moved the fuck on, not making his sads a big thing. Not only because it didn't make a big deal over sad nice whitey, but because it also didn't bang a drum about doing horrid things for The Greater Good. Which is a pretty dicey road to walk down.

This episode as a whole is a great argument for bringing in actual writers of colour when you're telling stories that touch on questions of racism and allyship. So many well-intentioned (to be generous) white writers have tried to do this story but failed miserably at it. But this time they brought in a black woman to help them tell the story, and they got a genuinely moving piece of science fiction out it.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:38 AM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


(And, just for the record, I say "help" there only because the credits for the episode listed Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall as cowriters.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:57 PM on November 1, 2018


I am so depressed by the thought that, thousands of years in the future, when humanity is faced with interactions with hundred of other species and the limitless frontiers of space, there are still petulant white supremacists man-children who dress like side characters in the Matrix.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:34 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


With everything else going on, I missed this yesterday:

Rosa Parks arrested in Alabama, Dec. 1, 1955

Alabama Observes First Official Rosa Parks Day
posted by homunculus at 5:26 PM on December 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


« Older Daredevil: Daredevil Full Seas...   |  The Walking Dead: A New Beginn... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster