Doctor Who: The Devil's Chord
May 10, 2024 8:22 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

The Doctor and Ruby meet The Beatles but discover that the all-powerful Maestro is changing history. London becomes a battleground with the future of humanity at stake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (30 comments total)
 
Honestly, it's one of the goofier endings to an episode I've seen in a while.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Rather.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:44 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Both of these episodes were very basic plot wise and yet both build the central relationship will and lay in clues about the mystery of Ruby really well. The Maestro is a hell of a concept not fully explored but will realized by Jinkx. And the whole problem was solved by Lennon-McCartney. Wild.

And I loved the twist at the end.
posted by crossoverman at 12:22 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Loved Jinkx, what a great role for someone who is so good at playing those intense camp angles! I hope to see more drag queens in future Who episodes please RTD.
posted by fight or flight at 5:50 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


It feels like RTD is investing heavily in making us fond of 15 and of making sure we are having fun. He's done this a few times in a row now and I wonder if he will change gears and branch into a different vibe next time.

Jinkx Monsoon most definitely understood the assignment.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:04 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


I wasn't fond of the look of the animated music staffs and all that, but I was pleased that the live-action Maestro upstaged any other bit of fx they could throw at it.

A bit more breaking the 4th wall than I expect in my Whovian fun, but "I thought that was non-diegetic" was fucking brilliant. And, hey, twist at the end indeed.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:30 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I wonder if he will change gears and branch into a different vibe next time.

The teaser scenes at the end definitely suggested a darker tone in episode 3.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:05 PM on May 11


The teaser scenes at the end definitely suggested a darker tone in episode 3.

The next one is written by Stephen Moffat, FWIW.
posted by crossoverman at 6:00 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


This was fun. Mæstro was a great character. Too bad they were thoroughly evil. PS What else can I see Jinkx in, just in case I need more?

The "non-diegetic" line felt like a throwaway laugh, unless it's not.

But what if this *is* about The Doctor being in a story? Or, something's making the Doctor's world like a story, in the same way that there logically "had to be" a boogeyman last episode.

Another thing that was shown and talked about a few times: in the specials, Donna turned "gravity" into "mavity". We had the crushed butterfly, quickly reversed. But then The Doctor thought something changed within his memory of the night of Ruby's abandonment. Just flavor? Tricky foreshadowing? Who knows.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 7:43 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


The thing I think I liked most about both this one and the last one is that at no point did I feel like the writers had fucking lost the plot like they had the past few years. Where it all just sort of snowballed into the Doctor making a speech and / or waving the sonic around to resolve the crisis / the episode, ta-da. At every point both episodes felt pretty good about acknowledging where they've been and the questions the audience might have and resolving them ... more or less. I mean ok in this case, so what, did all the music we know from 1923 to 1963 never happen? Did Pee-Wee Herman dance to something other than Tequila on a bar top? Or did timey-wimey stuff happen that reverted the changes to time and Marty McFly got to have his Enchantment Under the Sea with ... uh. his mother.
posted by Kyol at 7:52 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah, both these episodes were very simply plotted - but I'd rather that that hand-wavey speechifying nonsense that the Chibnall era turned into.
posted by crossoverman at 11:01 PM on May 11


PS What else can I see Jinkx in, just in case I need more?

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7 - Snatch Game, where Jinkx performed as Natasha Lyonne (v. good) and Judy Garland (career-defining). And on the Roast of RuPaul from another episode.

(Both of these clips are pretty filthy btw!)
posted by bcwinters at 8:12 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Doctor Who and the Beatles, a comic strip.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:07 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I can only hope that one day I will be as happy doing anything as Russell T Davies clearly is to be writing this show again.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:50 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I noticed Henry Arbinger showing up near the end and wonder where they fit into the pantheon going forward.
posted by Marticus at 7:28 PM on May 12


Fun fact I just learned - the older woman who plays Debussy on the piano and then gets et was played by June Hudson, the costume designer during the Tom Baker era (and likely designer of The Scarf).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:55 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


I loved this one so much. I enjoyed Space Babies while it was happening but felt meh about it after. But this one was so much fun, the Maestro was fabulous, the music battle was exciting, and only John and Paul together are genius enough to find the right chord. Also, the costumes. Loved the costumes. Although it feels weird that the Doctor doesn't have just the one outfit--I guess I'll get used to it.

I wonder who H. Arbinger will be bringing us next...
posted by ceejaytee at 5:14 AM on May 13


The "Twist at the End" was fun, but TBH, that song suuuuuuucked.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:28 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that was a terrible song, and I do hope they stop with all the 4th wall breaking winks...
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:12 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if there was a complaint, it's that the song and dance number felt kind of like padding? Oh, Henry Arbinger is back, and next time he's going to bring out the Animated Spirit of Teddy Ruxpin. Great. That's the twist. Gotcha.
posted by Kyol at 1:18 PM on May 13


Although it feels weird that the Doctor doesn't have just the one outfit--I guess I'll get used to it.

Honestly, I always thought it weird that the Doctor didn’t change clothes. I like that this one (apparently) does.

I was kind-of taken aback by how suddenly the Doctor freaked-out over Maestro’s apparent power. Like, he went immediately into panic mode and was all “I can’t fight this,” which was quite un-Doctor-like.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:36 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I can't believe Space Babies is the one I like most this season but I'm only comparing it to baby-eating goblins and killer music notes. I'm torn because I think RTD is doing a great job delivering his vision, but that vision just isn't for me. I prefer Doctor Who with more sci-fi and fewer silly musical numbers. But if this is what you're into, I think it's being delivered with great production, great acting, and without a lot of the basic storytelling problems they've had in recent years.
posted by Gary at 4:43 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I was kind-of taken aback by how suddenly the Doctor freaked-out over Maestro’s apparent power. Like, he went immediately into panic mode and was all “I can’t fight this,” which was quite un-Doctor-like.

It's interesting, too, that the Doctor also ran away from the monster in "Space Babies," even though there was a sound in-story reason for that. And his line about the Toymaker tearing him in half made me rethink what exactly happened with the bigeneration, which seemed to sit well with both Doctors at the time, but now I wonder. Are there parts of the Doctor's persona that 15 just doesn't have anymore, or will have to regrow?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:55 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they're a little loose with the hyperbole this year, too.

How many times did fifteen say they'd never seen anything this weird before? I was like: you ran into the pansexual space conman you met in WWII as an immortal giant head in a life support aquarium at the space hospital staffed by cat nuns... you can process this, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:15 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Are there parts of the Doctor's persona that 15 just doesn't have anymore, or will have to regrow?

Maybe they're in the jukebox? Need a personality trait? Select B-7.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:43 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Now I've heard there was a secret chord
John & Paul played, and it pleased the Time Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?

posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:51 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Yeah, honestly I kept kind of expecting that to sneak into it somehow, DOT.
posted by Kyol at 1:02 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Not taking it seriously enough. Everybody involved needs to repeat ‘Dr Who is not a pantomime’ a hundred times.
posted by Phanx at 7:37 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Uh, Doctor Who has OFTEN been a Panto. This gave off serious Happiness Patrol vibes. The Kandy Man was just as camp as Maestro. Going back further, the Master was literally a mustache-twirling villain for Pertwee.

I am ready for two seasons of Mad Camp Doctor Who followed by a slide into desperation with Matt Smith's reprise that I assume will be this era's answer to the Colin Baker years.
posted by rikschell at 6:14 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I liked this so much better than Space Babies. I liked the idea of the song at the end, but as for the actual song itself... I feel like it must have been written *before* the Maestro was defeated and music was restored. Jangly, annoying, and largely tuneless.
posted by jordemort at 9:37 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


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