selenak: (Bill Potts by Ella_Rose88)
[personal profile] selenak
I've found a Bill icon!



Mind you, I was tempted to use my Missy icon instead for obvious reasons, but that would have been spoilery.

Anyway: perhaps due to having watched this very early in the morning on Amazon Prime, I didn't guess the twist until it was revealed this time around, though in retrospect Moffat's acknowledgment via Nardole of Star Trek: The Next Generation's holodeck as an inspiration was a strong hint. (BTW: given last week's "Space: the final frontier" speech, this makes two ST references in a row. Is someone longing for a crossover?) The Moff is copying himself a bit in this one (the Doctor's "look me up" is directly from the Library episodes, and the Vashta Nerada reacted the same way), and yes, of course many a sci fi show has done the "we're all in an artificial reality" episode by now, but frankly, I don't care, because this was another good one. Oh, and the first this season to go back to the "Aliens invade" trope, and my one complaint is that the design for them (what do we call them anyway? I've seen "monks", but is that official?) - is so standard - it made me wonder for a moment whether they were supposed to be the Silence again, but then again I might misremember, because I never rewatched s6. (Issues.)

Given that most of the episode, we follow copies of our main characters, not the main characters themselves, this worked amazingly well as a character episode, too. Partly because of the flashbacks - which the Moff thankfully doesn't present as a "gotcha" but with awareness the fandom at large must have already realised it could only be the Master in that vault - which were after all showing the "real" characters, and I'll rave about them in a moment - but also because the Simulation Bill, Doctor and Nardole all revealed aspects of their originals, and made you feel for them. I do regret the Bill-Nardole interaction won't be remembered by the originals, because that was delightful, and Nardole's best character scene so far, but even so, it gives me an idea about how these two will relate. The Doctor's way of (not) dealing with his blindness also is characteristic, and his own interaction with Nardole fleshes out their relationship more as well. (That River put him in charge of the Doctor fits, both her honest concern and her sense of humor.) Real Doctor's interaction with Bill at the end, when he encourages her to try her luck with Penny because there might soon not be time anymore, was a great touch because it prevented the scene with virtual Bill and Penny earlier from coming across just as comic relief.

Now, on to the flashbacks: well, it HAD to be his Best Enemy. And of course he doesn't kill Missy but changes that sentence to Ten's old idea of How To Cope With The Master. (BTW: the fashion sense of those death experts was distinctly Gallifreyan, their robes, I mean, and yet they were supposed to be a different species, not Time Lords. But I'm guessing some related people, considering the Doctor considers himself bound to his oath re: "guarding the body"? And sheesh, a thousand years? Now we know he spend 50 of those already in Bristol moonlighting as a university lecturer, but what effect they had on Missy and future Master regenerations, I'm really curious to find out. The great thing about this particular regeneration is that she's truly unpredictable. She could be mad at him and planning dire revenge for imprisoning her for all that time (as opposed to letting her go the moment they were out of there), or extremely satisfied (at last he does something major for her which he's done for those mortals she resents, and she certainly had his attention for longer than ever since they were kids), or both. At any rate, the way she asked for her life was amazingly non melodramatic for the Master (check out Delgado!Master on his knees and Ainsley screaming in the flames for comparison), and that eye-locking moment when she repeats his ‘Without hope, without witness, without reward' but then alters the end of the sentence to "I am your friend" immediately became one of my favourite Doctor/Master scenes.

In conclusion: bring on part II! (Of three, I hear.)
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