selenak: (Equations by Such_Heights)
[personal profile] selenak
This was good, not solely for the dynamics, but for the overall episode content. Also, is this shaping up to be the most overtly leftist season since Seven's day, or what?



For starters, it was was truly scary. I mean, yes, we knew Bill and the Doctor would survive, and Nardole most likely, but as opposed to last week, I cared about the episode guest stars as well, and the Doylist knowledge that our regulars would survive didn't change the Watsonian fear on their behalf. The fear of vacuum in space, the flipside to the wonder of space, seems to be a surefire button to press for me, it works on the big screen, too, when a movie bothers to employ it. (Mind you: while the episode was more scientific than many, it couldn't resist employing sound to heighten the fear - the clicking of the magnetized boots in space where no one should be able to hear it. But there was a moment when they showcased the utter silence before going back to the sound effects, which I took as a nod to reality.)

Making the villain not a person but the system, capitalism carried out to the ultimate conclusion, worked really well here, and I think we're now five for five this season in episodes that lack the traditional menacing monster of alien origin. (The probably-alien-lice last week don't count because the main antagonist was the Landlord, not them.) It employed the "machines turning against us" fear but in an untraditional way - the machines don't become sentient, or suddenly evil, they still follow their programming, and it's the humans who programmed them who are the bastards (and as opposed to 10.02 not unintentionally so). The selling oxygen concept, the counting of breaths - I completely bought into this particular world building, and all lin the space of one episode.

As last week, the biggest punchline came at the end, with the reveal that the Doctor didn't magically heal due to nth use of Gallifreyan biology as an explanation, but is still blind as a result of giving Bill his helmet. If this happened in a normal season, it wouldn't be very effective because we'd know it won't stick for long. But this is Peter Capaldi's last season, and this means the Twelfth Doctor may well stay blind until he regenerates. (Or not, I'm not excluding a cure earlier, but my point is, because of the nature of the season, it's entirely possible for me to believe Twelve won't see again, and that is gut wrenching.)

What else: Nardole gets a bit more fleshed out here; we see he's truly worried and scared of what will happen if Person in The Vault gets out, and that the Doctor when this whole vault guarding began explicitly told Nardole to stop himself from doing what he's doing now, adventuring away from Earth. In other words, Nardole has the most thankless of Companion tasks, Doctor-wrangling, while Bill gets his good side, which makes a bit of an uneven dynamic with potential trapfalls, but by now I'm optimistic enough to wait for more, and for evening out this unevenness.

Date: 14 May 2017 15:51 (UTC)
dewline: (not fail)
From: [personal profile] dewline
Yep. If there was ever a pro-labour unionization episode from that series, this is it.

Date: 14 May 2017 18:10 (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
I guessed that the suits might be killing them for profit, but hadn't worked all of it out about the 'rescue'ship being their replacement.

I kept expecting 'Velma' to be relevant somehow.

Date: 14 May 2017 21:19 (UTC)
kalypso: Raising his eyebrow for a week (Dr Capaldi)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
I presume it was a reference to the girl in Scooby Doo? I had always heard her name as Thelma, but it seems she spelled it with a V.

I am not sure what the significance of Nardole having a romantic association with that particular Velma might be!

Date: 15 May 2017 11:30 (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
That seems plausible.

Date: 16 May 2017 04:40 (UTC)
davetheanalyzer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davetheanalyzer
The themes were certainly poignant, with the powers-that-be wanting to privatize all sorts of public resources and services today for short-term profit.

It was interesting to see Nardole be entered into the equation after his brief stint with Doctor and Bill in the first episode. His dynamic with the Doctor's clear but that with Bill I'm not so sure of as of yet. He seems annoyed by her presence at times yet he still checks on her. Bill seems amused by the shenanigans the Doctor pulls on him. Maybe the pair will get their relationship fleshed out in the next few episodes, since Nardole seems like he'll play a more prominent role from now on.

Bill's discomfort around the standing dead astronaut seemed like a extension to her reactions in Thin Ice and her fears around the space suit were well done. I'd be panicking even more in her position. The appearance of her mother again as she gets exposed to the vacuum of space was intriguing. I wonder if this means the mother might appear outside of photographs and play a important role for Bill's character and/or the plot. I'd still like Bill to be ordinary, but a Father's Day-like episode would be fine.

(Aside: I noticed some people make the assumption that Pearl Mackie also played the mother. She didn't, it was some other actress whose name escapes but whose twitter/instragram I came across. I do wonder how much do actors get paid for playing characters who only appear in pictures?)

I do wonder how blindness is going to inform the Doctor's character and how long it'll last these next few episodes. As a Time Lord, he might find some tasks easier to accomplish than humans and others just as difficult. I would honestly be more surprised if the Doctor wasn't fluent in Braille and other such languages. Hopefully it'll be handled well.

Jamie Mathieson did pretty well here. Though it looks like, from what he's said, he mightn't be back for Chris Chibnail's run. That's sad but he did well in the episodes he wrote. Wish him luck on future projects.

Speaking of Chibnail, I do wonder what writing team he has. I looked up those Broadchurch credits curiously but saw only one other credited name. I surmise it's the more behind-the-scenes writers who worked on this show he's bringing over to Who? Here's some interesting speculation on what his run might be like: http://www.cultbox.co.uk/features/opinion/doctor-who-season-11-speculation-what-should-we-expect-from-chris-chibnall

Finally, Russel T. Davies still watches and apparently really loves Bill: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/russell-davies-never-misses-episode-10424556

Date: 28 May 2017 14:24 (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
Agreed: super overtly leftist which I loved, especially in its nod to the importance of unions even it's via the union being "mythical" (busted?) I mean I actually don't think capitalism is a mistake - but unfettered capitalism certainly is and I totally bought into the concept too.

It was cool seeing more of Nardole - I actually really liked him here, having been very meh before (partly cos I don't like Matt Lucas' comedy much) especially how it goes from being played as funny the-Doctor-gets-round-the-chaperone at the start to him being clearly absolutely right and correctly frightened over the vault at the end.

Twelve being blind from now on is so scary and sad but equally I actually really hope it sticks!

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