Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died
October 17, 2015 2:40 PM - Season 9, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Captured by Vikings, the Doctor and Clara must help protect their village from space warriors from the future, the Mire. Outnumbered and outgunned, their fate seems inevitable. So why is the Doctor preoccupied with a single Viking girl?
posted by fearfulsymmetry (75 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow... oh be still my geeky heart
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:40 PM on October 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


For some reason I get a jolt of happiness each time this season he does his Tom Baker voice. Fun episode. I like the Doctor / Clara relationship more now. It seems much more like the relationship in the classic series than nuWho, to me anyway. Obviously setting a lot of stuff up for the series arc, but I don't let that sort of thing spoil my enjoyment of the episode as it rattles along. Of course I wonder who's going to end up with the other thingamajig, but as I'll be told at some point between now and Christmas (or failing that on Christmas Day), I'll just let it go for the moment.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Great Month Python/Douglas Adamsy vibe to it and Capaldi's performance is as nuanced as ever. Fun without being too silly and the series arc stuff wasn't too intrusive. There's definitely a more classic Who feel to Series 9.

That's 5 good episodes in a row, pretty great going for Who.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:33 PM on October 17, 2015


The appearance of Odin in the clouds was very W.G. Grace wasn't it?
posted by sobarel at 3:52 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gosh, I really wish I was enjoying this season as much as other people are. I see all the things that people like and I appreciate them, um, intellectually. But it's mostly not working for me because it feels like it's all slapped together haphazardly. I'd sure like an episode as tightly written and executed as, say, Midnight.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:43 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do we think they were setting up Ashildr as the next companion?
posted by wittgenstein at 7:02 PM on October 17, 2015


Oooooog. Yeah, this really didn't feel well-written. The beginning is OK, the ending works from a mechanical standpoint, but I never really got swept up in the middle for the ride.

Especially the immortality thing - that worked out so well for Harkness.

The high point for me was Capaldi translating baby. It had a quiet poetry feel to it.
posted by mikurski at 7:09 PM on October 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I loved this.
Solid season so far.

Also, more Donna is always good.

Do we think they were setting up Ashildr as the next companion?

She's a tad busy, unless you are The Spoiler, GRRM!
posted by Mezentian at 8:00 PM on October 17, 2015


Did I miss hear a reference to the Spiders of Metabelis III?
Or did I mis-read a reference to the Spiders of Metabelis III recently?
posted by Mezentian at 8:02 PM on October 17, 2015


Okay, crazy fan theory time:

The Doctor, ruined by guilt at the actual end of his life, on realising he's been allowed a new cycle of regenerations, took that face in order to remind himself to go and revisit Donna and restore her to greatness, because what he did was a shitty, shitty thing.

So, Catherine Tate turns up in the finalie (which, considering the opener was a finale, works).

Insane speculation: Catherine Tate isn't doing much, and decides a year filming Doctor Who after Clara leaves will be a laugh.

Sure, that's all about as likely as Ace, Charley Pollard or Evelyn Smythe turning up.
But a Boy Who Dreams is a Man Who Realises.
posted by Mezentian at 8:51 PM on October 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Electric eels are from South America!
posted by Catblack at 9:10 PM on October 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked it. I must concede that it wasn't as tight as the truly great episodes of Who, and it still had a bit of that "I'm the DOCTOR" chest thumping that I'm exhausted with in nuWho, but it still hearkened back to the old days well enough for me. Clara's making her own plays, she's clearly a companion rather than a girlfriend. The monsters were beaten via shenanigans.

Bonus points for a Viking crushing those stupid sunglasses. I actually laughed out loud.

I'll take it.

Did I miss hear a reference to the Spiders of Metabelis III?

Could've sworn that was what he said in the opening.

The high point for me was Capaldi translating baby. It had a quiet poetry feel to it.

That was pretty neat.
posted by mordax at 9:24 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Electric eels are from South America!

Vikings discovered America!
posted by Mezentian at 9:24 PM on October 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


The monsters were beaten via shenanigans.

"One thing is consistent though, and this is why the show is so beloved by geeks and nerds. It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism." - Craig Ferguson's musical tribute to Doctor Who, from his late and much lamented talk show. James Corden seems like a nice little fellow, but he's sure no Geoff Peterson.

because what he did was a shitty, shitty thing.

IIRC, didn't he only put the amnesia whammy on Donna to save her sanity? It certainly seemed like the last thing he wanted to do, but the alternative was that she'd have some sort of mind-destroying meltdown.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:11 PM on October 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Doctor, ruined by guilt at the actual end of his life, on realising he's been allowed a new cycle of regenerations, took that face in order to remind himself to go and revisit Donna and restore her to greatness, because what he did was a shitty, shitty thing.

Good guess but no. I'll give you a hint: this season is not Capaldi's first appearance on Dr Who. The rest flows from that.

I thought for sure he was going to use the eels to shock her back to life. Which would've been clever but it wouldn't set up the coming story arc. I have a fear regarding that, beyond creating a new enemy in Maise/Ashildr, but I'll keep it to myself for now because I'm not sure enough of it.
posted by scalefree at 12:13 AM on October 18, 2015


I'm really getting into this new writer, the way he subtly telegraphs his moves. Having Maise/Ashildr put on the helmet then dying was inevitable given the shape & style of the warrior helmets, their roomy bulk making them perfect to fit on her head but also not visibly slump too much. But only in hindsight - I was thrown at first & thought they were Judoon until I remembered how short Judoon are. And last week with Shakespeare blew me away. But it makes me fear what's coming, if I read it right. Alright, I'll shut up about that & let it unfold.
posted by scalefree at 12:42 AM on October 18, 2015


One thing I really liked was Clara was confidently taking the initiative and being bold in a very Doctor-like fashion and arranging for she and Ashildr to be transported to the ship. She didn't even ask the Doctor or even involve him. She just did it. She was totally being him.

And I really do like that theme -- they've explored it before. But it's especially nice to see with Clara because she's so much more interesting and watchable this way. What I don't like is when she suddenly transitions back into being both passive and being all about the Doctor (he's her hobby). I mean, I know, there's only one Doctor and it wouldn't make any sense for her to not expect that he'd have to be the one to come up with a plan. But she still seemed oddly passive once they got back to the village, compared to before.

To elaborate -- I really do find interesting the idea that being a companion or, really, just having your life intersect with the Doctor is both a blessing and a curse. And for some people it can be much more a curse. But for the companions there's always a high price to be paid -- by the companions -- for both relieving some of the Doctor's loneliness and for all the wonders and extraordinary experiences. Once you've peeked behind the curtain, you can't ever unsee what you've seen. And more importantly, the Doctor is an impossible role model. He naturally inspires the companions, but because they simply cannot even remotely be who he is, there's actually a fair bit of harm that comes to them when they try. Some good stuff, too -- they reach higher, they challenge themselves, they grow. But they burn out and they get killed. And I think that also their self-awareness is weirdly impaired, too. I think that in many ways it would be hard to know who you are when you're around the Doctor.

And the thing is -- the Doctor completely understands this. It's not just that he keeps living when they die, it's that I think he knows that his influence is as much a curse as it is a blessing. Even when the companions themselves aren't aware of this. He understands the moral responsibility he has for involving these people in his world. He does it anyway, and he can be remarkably callous about it, and that's because he can't help himself. He can't bear to be alone. He knows that he gets people killed, he distorts their lives and personalities, and he knows that the companions never really knew what they bargained for, but he does what he does because he can't stop himself. And so he feels a lot of guilt. I think that's a big portion of his guilt -- it's not just about the external dangers.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:59 AM on October 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Do we think they were setting up Ashildr as the next companion?

Maybe not a companion (as Mezentian said, Maisie is busy) but it would be nice to see her as a recurring character the same way that Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are. If she stays immortal after next episode then she can basically show up whenever they want.
posted by Gary at 1:53 AM on October 18, 2015


IIRC, didn't he only put the amnesia whammy on Donna to save her sanity? It certainly seemed like the last thing he wanted to do, but the alternative was that she'd have some sort of mind-destroying meltdown.

There's always a way to win.
He missed something.
posted by Mezentian at 2:36 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Murray Gold is the actual worst composer in the history of all musical endeavour. Between the fiddle-dee-dee-viking-potato folk music pastiche and the YOU MUST FEEL VERY SAD NOW THESE STRINGS ARE VERY SAD YOU EMOTIONALLY INCOMPETENT HALFWIT it was all just terribly exhausting. Yes, it was fun, but I didn't need the soundtrack to tell me that. Yes, the Doctor had (yet another) moral dilemma, but I could tell that from the script and instead Gold was bludgeoning us about the head with it. And don't even get me started on the battle montage shite.

GOLD OUT MOFFATT OUT.
posted by prismatic7 at 3:39 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's always a way to win.

But one of the tropes of the RTD era was that the Doctor's "win" was sometimes very bittersweet, and there were people who were transformed in tragic ways by their time in his world. We had Donna, and the pig-man from Daleks in Manhattan, and the paving stone lady from Gods and Monsters... it wasn't rare during the Tennant era for the Doctor to save the day but then have to tell somebody, "Yeah, you're never going to be a normal person again, and I'm sorry but I can't help that."

Sometimes I questioned why he couldn't whisk them off to some hospital two thousand years from now where they would almost certainly have a cure for pig-man-hood, but symbolically it made sense. Even the Doctor could only do so much. The Capaldi Doctor saying he could literally do anything is surprising, but in a way that makes sense too. The Doctor probably could have un-piggified that guy, and maybe he could have even saved Donna's mind... but for reasons never revealed to us, he felt like he couldn't make those choices. Maybe Donna's mental regression or pig-man being pigged up were some of those "fixed points in time" the Doctor gets so nervous about. In The Waters of Mars we saw the 10th Doctor decide he could do any damn thing he liked, and it ended badly. When the current Doctor decided to save Maisie, it was giving me some Waters of Mars flashbacks.

Murray Gold is the actual worst composer in the history of all musical endeavour.

Oh, come now. I've been hearing people complain about Gold being over the top lately, and that's just odd to me. Back in the RTD era Gold's music was sometimes so loud that it was literally hard to hear the dialogue. (At least, it was on our TV.) Some time toward the end of the Tennant era it seemed like they scaled it way back and now I'm rarely even aware of the music. I remember Rose used to have her own theme and Rose and the Doctor's ill-fated love had a theme and there was no missing that everything had a theme, but if anybody has their own theme now I couldn't tell you.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:41 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


The difference with the Doctor's actions in The Waters of Mars (which, if I remember correctly, also directly referenced the Pompeii episode) is that it seemed to have some emotional and thematic heft behind it. He's giving in to his arrogance, and it's a moment of dark hubris that leads - as it must - to nemesis.

In this episode though we get a sort of wacky knockabout Horrible History-esque Viking romp, and then suddenly we've got the Doctor causing his "tidal wave" and - literally! - daring the gods to stop him. It doesn't feel earned. Maybe if they'd spent more time establishing a connection between him and Ashildr? It just felt sort of narratively weightless to me, like the whole was less than the sum of the (mostly pretty good) parts.
posted by sobarel at 5:33 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


A fun bit of trivia from the A. V. Club review: the director was "Edward Bazalgette, who in another life was the lead guitarist for the Vapors" of "Turning Japanese" fame.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:59 AM on October 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


the director was "Edward Bazalgette, who in another life was the lead guitarist for the Vapors" of "Turning Japanese" fame.

You really think so?
posted by Servo5678 at 6:48 AM on October 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


It just occurred to me that Maisie Williams' last two UK TV roles have been a docu-drama about cyberbullying, and then a Doctor Who in which the good guys blackmail someone by threatening to upload an embarrassing video.
posted by sobarel at 7:46 AM on October 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Electric eels are from South America!

The Nineteenth Doctor (Maisie Williams) grabs her Companion (Wildred Tennant), wild-eyed. "I've got it! I know why I have this face, Stormageddon! I have to take electric eels to the Vikings!"
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:01 AM on October 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


Oh, come now. I've been hearing people complain about Gold being over the top lately...

Lately?
Gold has been on fans' shit list practically since the start. Rummage around Gallifrey Base, for instance, and you'll see that slagging Gold has a long and honored history.

He truly is the weakest link in NuWho. He seemed to be more restrained through the first few episodes this season, and I thought maybe, just maybe, he'd been reined-in. But this episode had Gold in full-effect and it was horrible and distracting, especially toward the end when he started with his tired Doctor-triumphant bombast.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:41 AM on October 18, 2015


Electric eels are from South America!

And corn is from Central America yet the pre-Columbian Vikings made two references to it.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:28 AM on October 18, 2015


You can use "corn" to mean any cereal crop, in Britain anyway.
posted by sobarel at 9:42 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can use "corn" to mean any cereal crop, in Britain anyway.

Yeah corn is generic term for cereals - mainly wheat nowadays would be more barley in the past, oats up in Scotland

See also the number of Corn Exchanges around the country

Maize is 'sweet corn' or 'corn on the cob'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:56 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, didn't know that. Thanks!
posted by plastic_animals at 10:04 AM on October 18, 2015


"A fun bit of trivia from the A. V. Club review: the director was 'Edward Bazalgette, who in another life was the lead guitarist for the Vapors' of 'Turning Japanese' fame."

Jesus, thanks for that. I'm going to have that song stuck in my head for weeks.

Literally, weeks. I always have an earworm and particularly bad ones can last for months.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:13 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Horns on the helmets. That really bothered me.
posted by Atreides at 10:19 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Horns on the helmets. That really bothered me.

When I saw the pre-publicity I thought 'Ah, horns on helmets - fake vikings then'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:33 AM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not the best episode this season but definitely very workmanlike. Also the "why I chose this face" bit was interesting given the long-term history of regenerations and the very deliberate way Romana chose her next face when it was time for her to regenerate.

I'm saving my opinion on the Ashlar situation until after I see the next episode, but I share the Doctor's reservations.
posted by immlass at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Horns on the helmets. That really bothered me.

But they told us:

- Ashildr brought bad luck to their village.
- They had no where to go if they ran.

Obviously what they meant was that Ashildr's wild imaginative stories had convinced their Chieftan that they should put horns on their helmets. This silly fashion choice made them ridiculed among their society. Outcast, they had no choice but to move to South America and harvest electric eels.
posted by Gary at 11:59 AM on October 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Sounds legit.
posted by scalefree at 12:15 PM on October 18, 2015


The kraken from Ashildr's imagination was foreshadowed by the mural in Under the Lake / Before the Flood.

Also I'm adding, "Lofty, Daphne, Noggin the Nog, ZZ Top, Heidi, and Limpy" to Dwarf Fortress's name generator.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:08 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Horns on the helmets. That really bothered me.

So I found out from someone on twitter who knows way more about Who than me that horns on helmets is continuity from earlier Who... Mind... blown.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:11 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was probably the weakest of Jamie Mathieson's episodes so far (he also wrote Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline), but I enjoyed it -- we're almost halfway through the series and yet to have an episode I consider a dud, which hasn't happened since... series 4, maybe? I'm one of those outliers who liked The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky, though. Series 6 started off really well but the back half was so awful that the front has been tainted by association.

I like Mathieson+Moffat's Clara better than plain Moffat Clara (and I like Moffat Clara, unlike many of the folks here) -- I can't put a finger on how exactly, especially since I don't know who wrote which lines of dialogue if such a delineation is even possible, but I noticed it last season (Mathieson got solo credit but has mention Moffat went back in and added/revised the Clara-and-the-Doctor dialogue) and I'm noticing it now.

Maisie Williams was charming and I'm looking forward to seeing how her character develops, although I don't know how I feel about the idea of another recurring character cursed with immortality by the Doctor even if this one is a much better actor, I love Jack Harkness but it's true.

...Speaking of the Sontaran two-parter, next week we are finally, finally getting a female writer for the first time since those episodes, which came out seven-and-a-half years ago. And it's Catherine Tregenna, who wrote four of the genuinely good Torchwood episodes, so I am excited. (I hope mentioning this doesn't break spoiler guidelines -- if it does, I apologize and will refrain.)
posted by bettafish at 2:49 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't put a finger on how exactly, especially since I don't know who wrote which lines of dialogue if such a delineation is even possible

I think Ivan nailed it earlier: there are a lot of instances where Clara has more agency on her own in more recent episodes. She makes decisions, plans and is even willing to sacrifice people without asking the Doctor for help or permission. I feel like it offers insight into what being around the Doctor does to people in a way we haven't seen done really well since Donna. (I still prefer Donna, but I think both reactions are good to explore: the companion who checks the Doctor's worst impulses vs. the companion who wants to be more like the Doctor.)

"One thing is consistent though, and this is why the show is so beloved by geeks and nerds. It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism."

Yep. That sums up my love of the Doctor tidily, and it's part of why I don't like the messianic streak in nuWho - part of his charm used to be that nobody even knew to be worried when he showed up. Having his reputation precede him undercuts the whole 'victory by cleverness' schtick that made him my favorite as a boy.
posted by mordax at 3:14 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Ivan nailed it earlier: there are a lot of instances where Clara has more agency on her own in more recent episodes. She makes decisions, plans and is even willing to sacrifice people without asking the Doctor for help or permission.

I agree with that assessment, but I don't see it as a sudden change, rather a slow (not always linear) development whose seeds were planted in Deep Breath if not before -- it's definitely not specific to Mathieson's episodes, although two of his three are particularly good for showcasing Clara as an independent agent. (Does Flatline count as "recent" for Clara? There've been eight intervening episodes.)
posted by bettafish at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with that assessment, but I don't see it as a sudden change

Yeah, I think you're right about that bit too.
posted by mordax at 4:59 PM on October 18, 2015


"I agree with that assessment, but I don't see it as a sudden change, rather a slow (not always linear) development whose seeds were planted in Deep Breath if not before..."

There's always been this in her characterization, it's just that it's been in fits and starts and periods where she's weirdly become much more passive. I feel like it's really come to the fore this season, though. I might be overly influenced by her scene at UNIT and then the scene in this episode. In both those cases, she was basically being just like the Doctor. But then other times, not so much.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:22 PM on October 18, 2015


Bonus points for Yakety Sax.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Has the power-armour used by the aliens been on the show before? I swear I recognise it from somewhere. It's not the Judoon armour.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:40 AM on October 19, 2015


Lovely thought-provoking AV Club review, thank you plastic_animals. I've added it to the side-bar. Some time ago read an interview with Mr Moffatt wherein he mentioned Russell T. Davies had suggested a narrative use for the 12th Doctor's "recycled" face and I was delighted to find out what that was at last.
posted by Coaticass at 2:46 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Odin was originally to have been played by Brian Blessed
omg

I like the new format of having more two-part stories. My other half and I were saying last season that the stories didn't have enough time to develop in a single episode and the endings always felt rushed. According to Wikipedia the rest of the season after this two-parter is: two-parter, single, single, two-parter, which would make a total of 5 two-part stories and only two single episodes.
PS - don't read the Wikipedia summaries of future episodes: spoilers!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:48 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Moffat has said that this season we won't know for sure which are two parters or what a two-parter even means. So I'm guessing those two "single episodes" will be linked in a way as well.
posted by rikschell at 4:04 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


EndsOfInvention, I thought they were the Judoon at first. It's a very similar armor design.

Since they're acknowledging that the current Doctor took his face from the Capaldi character in The Fires of Pompeii, I wonder if they'll ever do anything about Karen "Amy Pond" Gillan playing a different character in that episode too. (With that cast, that episode must be pretty weird on a re-watch.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:36 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bonus points for Yakety Sax.

Um. No. I generally dislike it when shows intentionally insert pieces of whatever the current thing is with the the cool kids, because it almost always sticks-out like a sore, festering thumb. And it always seems even more sore-thumb and out-of-place in Dr. Who, for some reason. In Dr. Who, it always sounds like a middle-aged high-school teacher trying desperately to look "hip" by trying to talk like their students.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on October 19, 2015


Benny Hill started using Yakety Sax in the 1960s. Dubbing Yakety Sax over things has been around so long that it is a lame uncle joke by now.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:45 AM on October 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


So I found out from someone on twitter who knows way more about Who than me that horns on helmets is continuity from earlier Who... Mind... blown.

Yah. It's an unfortunate case of respecting bad history over modern understanding. That said, I suppose, if they want to have a two part cowboy western musical again...I'm game for that.
posted by Atreides at 6:47 AM on October 19, 2015


Benny Hill started using Yakety Sax in the 1960s. Dubbing Yakety Sax over things has been around so long that it is a lame uncle joke by now.

Which makes it a perfect Doctor joke.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:20 AM on October 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Since they're acknowledging that the current Doctor took his face from the Capaldi character in The Fires of Pompeii

Apparently, there is going to be some reason given for why Capaldi has been three different people in the DW universe. no idea whether it will fit with Pond or not.
posted by biffa at 8:40 AM on October 19, 2015


Odin was originally to have been played by Brian Blessed

There was a brief moment when I twigged what was going to happen with other fake Odin appearing and thought "Brian Blessed!?" Dashed.

Of course that would have added to the list of repeated DW recurring faces relevant to the point above.
posted by biffa at 8:42 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some time ago read an interview with Mr Moffatt wherein he mentioned Russell T. Davies had suggested a narrative use for the 12th Doctor's "recycled" face and I was delighted to find out what that was at last.

There was a lovely story Peter Capaldi told about how the fact that he was "recycled" affected him in real life - before the news broke that he was going to be replacing Matt Smith, he was filming The Three Musketeers in Croatia. He'd already been given the job, but couldn't tell anyone yet as it hadn't been announced.

So they were filming a scene he was in, and this Croatian kid who'd been hired for a bit part came up to him on a break and said, "I love you as Doctor Who."

"....What?" Remember the news hadn't been announced yet.

"I love you as Doctor Who," the kid said again. And after a couple seconds of Peter standing there wondering if the news had leaked or if this kid was somehow from the future, the kid added, "you know, the episode about Pompeii."

and that's when Peter realized that the kid just wasn't speaking proper English, and was actually trying to say "I loved you in that episode of Doctor Who." They chatted a bit more and it was clear that the kid was a massive Who fan; and here he was standing right next to the next Doctor and he didn't even know it. Peter suggested that the kid go get his cameraphone so they could take a selfie together - "just....trust me on this."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on October 19, 2015 [32 favorites]


I know that this article is a joke, but I now want Tommy Wiseau somehow involved with the show.
posted by jbickers at 2:57 PM on October 19, 2015


Beats the pants off of Robots of Sherwood. And doesn't have a cheesy ending either!
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 3:47 PM on October 19, 2015


So that's two two-parters this season where the Doctor mentions having created some sort of hybrid creature (and another episode where the writers hit that "the Doctor can't lose Clara" note pretty hard).
posted by johnofjack at 6:36 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of my friends noted that the end of this episode would have just been the end in any other season. This is like if they had followed up with Jenny immediately after The Doctor's Daughter.
posted by charred husk at 7:11 PM on October 19, 2015


(and another episode where the writers hit that "the Doctor can't lose Clara" note pretty hard).

I've always liked Clara fine enough, even when a lot of other fans hated her, but she's always felt like kind of a transitional/place-holder companion to me and I can never quite buy the Doctor's deep bond with her the way I could with Rose, Donna or Amy. She feels more Martha Jones-ish, one of those companions who does companion-ing very well but who you don't actually miss much after they're gone.

So that's two two-parters this season where the Doctor mentions having created some sort of hybrid creature

Hmm. They already did the DoctorDonna thing, or I'd wonder if they were headed for some twist where Clara's increasing Doctor-fication became literal somehow. (Had they not done DoctorDonna, DoctorClara would actually be a thematically appropriate conclusion to Clara's arc.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:14 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Martha is the best companion and all the others are rubbish. So there.
posted by biffa at 1:25 AM on October 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I quite liked Martha at the time. But when I think back to that era of the show, I remember the Doctor and the stories but Martha hasn't left the strongest impression. She strikes me as transitional, in that they were clearly aware they couldn't just do the Doctor's almost-girlfriend thing again, but they weren't quite ready for things to be entirely platonic like they were with Donna. So, Martha loved the Doctor but he was still hurting over Rose and he just wanted a friend. It wasn't a bad dynamic, but it wasn't sustainable. Martha was fun, strong, smart and capable, a fine and worthy companion for the Doctor... but while I kind of miss her era, I don't really miss her. I can wonder what Rose is up to with the 10.5 Doctor or how Donna is doing, but Martha is presumably doing fine with Mickey somewhere and I feel like that's all I need to know.

Writing that made me realize that while Moffat often goes back to the original series for inspiration, in some ways he seems less interested in delving into the RTD era. We don't get guest spots by Rose, Donna, Martha or Jack, we see the Ood very rarely, we never encounter the Face of Boe. We did see plenty of River Song on Moffat's watch, but while she began in the RTD era she was introduced in an episode Moffat wrote. In some ways, the Moffat era is more of a break from the RTD era than I realized. A lot of things RTD clearly found indispensable just aren't there anymore. (Also, somebody pointed out that the default setting of the RTD era was the London streets at night, while for the Moffat era it's more likely to be sunny countryside.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:13 AM on October 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


we see the Ood very rarely

I love the Ood as much as the next guy, but they are among the dumbest ideas for an alien ever. And that's saying something for Doctor Who.

A brain you have to hold in your hands? Like all the time? Really?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:28 AM on October 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Martha was fun, strong, smart and capable, a fine and worthy companion for the Doctor... but while I kind of miss her era, I don't really miss her. I can wonder what Rose is up to with the 10.5 Doctor or how Donna is doing, but Martha is presumably doing fine with Mickey somewhere and I feel like that's all I need to know.

I'm exactly the opposite -- zero interest in seeing Rose, 10.5, or Donna again (maaaybe Donna, but End of Time burned me but good), but I'd be absolutely thrilled to see Martha (and Mickey if he came along for the ride) again. I mean, one, she's my favorite, but in some ways her relationship with the Doctor was the most interesting and complex out of the RTD crew because it was so ambiguous and ambivalent at times. Plus she's the only new series companion to have walked away of her own free will, and despite her very rough time in the TARDIS (probably more time babysitting John Smith and fighting the Toclafane than actual time travel!) seems to have come out the better for it. Putting an older, more mature Martha toe-to-toe (and back-to-back) with Capaldi's Doctor would be fun.

(Had they not done DoctorDonna, DoctorClara would actually be a thematically appropriate conclusion to Clara's arc.)

Towards the end of last season I started spitballing with friends about how cool it would be if the plot threads of the search for Gallifrey and Clara's obvious increasing distance from "normal" life culminated in team TARDIS finding Gallifrey and Clara enrolling in the Academy (as Ace McShane was meant to, once upon a time).
posted by bettafish at 12:22 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the Ood as much as the next guy, but they are among the dumbest ideas for an alien ever.

They are very Ood, aren't they?
posted by nathan_teske at 2:52 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I sincerely miss hearing "Doctor!" and seeing both Martha and Msr. Who both turn around, expectantly.

Adios, Dr. Martha-Now-Mrs.-Mickey - you were the Best Companion EVER.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:22 PM on October 20, 2015


I'm pretty sure if anyone's changing their name it's Mr. Mickey Jones. Although probably they are Dr. Smith-Jones and Mr. Jones-Smith.
posted by bettafish at 5:52 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I should probably watch the first three NuWho series again, but I remember Martha as a lot smarter, more effective, and more proactive than Rose, who struck me as pretty but dull, and constantly in need of saving.
posted by johnofjack at 7:11 PM on October 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed every season as they first aired but now when I catch one of her episodes on one of the frequent BBCA marathons, I find Rose obnoxious. On the other hand, I strongly disliked Donna at the time she was a companion but now when I see one of her episodes as a repeat I find I like them a great deal, certainly more than any Rose episodes I have seen in the last year or two.

I have actually liked Clara from the beginning. At first I think it was just because I thought she was gorgeous but the character has really grown on me. I also like both her and the doctor SO MUCH more this season than I liked either of them the last season. That entire season just felt awkward. This season they fit together so well, at least so far. I kinda dread the next companion. I really wish they would find Gallifrey and he'd travel with a Time Lady or Time Lord again for a while.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:53 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


A brain you have to hold in your hands? Like all the time? Really?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:28 AM on October 20 [3 favorites +] [!]


Ummm...
posted by wittgenstein at 9:01 AM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


the "why I chose this face" bit was interesting given the long-term history of regenerations and the very deliberate way Romana chose her next face

If nothing else, we now can theorize that the Sixth Doctor chose his face because his previous incarnation died as a result of being too selfless and kind, so he wanted to counteract that by swinging the opposite direction and, in the heat of the moment, Commander Maxil was the biggest asshole he could think of.

I wonder if they'll ever do anything about Karen "Amy Pond" Gillan playing a different character in that episode too.

Apparently, there is going to be some reason given for why Capaldi has been three different people in the DW universe.


I remember when Capaldi was cast and people were freaking out that it "broke continuity" somehow to have him play the Doctor when he'd already been on the show as a different character. It always struck me as weird, as did the whole notion that "we should explain why they have the same face" (even though in this case it was a fairly nifty explanation). The DW universe/multiverse/whatsit has always been filled with duplicates. In addition to Sixth Doctor/Maxil, we've had, among many others, First Doctor/Abbot of Amboise, Second Doctor/Salamander, Nyssa/the one who looked like Nyssa in "Black Orchid," Bret Vyon/The Brigadier, Sara Kingdom/Morgaine, and like six different people who look like Michael Sheard.

I blathered on a bit in the last episode's thread about my theory that this season Capaldi was playing Seventh Doctor to last season's Capaldi Sixth Doctor, and this episode really furthered that. Capaldi's sonic sunglasses get busted and thrown away (hooray!) so he doesn't have a magic wand to rely on, his companion is becoming more and more like him, he comes up with a plan that kills off an ally as collateral damage (though he goes all "Waters Of Mars" in his urge to undo it), and boy howdy is he ever concerned about the ripple effect of time travel, which was also heavily on his mind in "Remembrance Of The Daleks." "Time will tell. It always does," the Doctor said in that story, and also in this one. All of which means this is totally within the realm of possibility:

how cool it would be if the plot threads of the search for Gallifrey and Clara's obvious increasing distance from "normal" life culminated in team TARDIS finding Gallifrey and Clara enrolling in the Academy (as Ace McShane was meant to, once upon a time).
posted by brianrobot at 11:36 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Each season I try to think of the Big Reveal that will annoy the most people. Last season it was that the whole season had been a dream. This time it's that Clara was the Doctor all along in his next regeneration and he'll regenerate into her at the end of the Christmas special, she'll remember who she actually is and next year it will be Jenna Coleman as the Doctor. Imagine. People would be screaming and wailing and punching things and each other. What larks.

Don't worry, my predictions never come true.
posted by Grangousier at 12:19 PM on October 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


You can use "corn" to mean any cereal crop, in Britain anyway.

Which also explains the non-South-American surreal eels.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2018


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