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71 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +6 points

So first, the things I liked: this was a good Dalek story. One Dalek always seems to be more effective than an army. The story did a good job of reminding us not just that the Daleks are evil but that they're also smart and resourceful and cunning, like the Doctor. I was pleasantly surprised to see Ryan's dad (I wondered if he was going to be the kind of character we always heard about but never actually met). The scene in the café where Ryan confronted his dad about his neglect was very good (especially since it allowed Ryan to have a moment where it was all about him) and I would like more of that kind of drama next series. I did wonder if Ryan would let Aaron go because it's not as if Aaron has done that much for him but I see his survival as the true tribute to Grace's love and influence on her family. The Doctor finally had to put her foot down and stop an enemy because, yes, the Daleks are just that bad. This makes a much better finale to the series than the previous episode.

This episode should have been the perfect opportunity for Yaz to shine, given that it involves the police and a criminal on the loose but nothing happened. It's like they've forgotten Yaz is a police officer. She should have known those officers the Daleks killed, she should have been able to get on the network and find out what was going on! She should have been the one telling the Doctor that UNIT has been shut down due to budget cuts (I laughed but it was a pretty painful joke - I can't believe Kate would just let that happen). At this point, I'm not sure why Chibnall made Yaz a police officer, she could have been doing any job and been frustrated at her lack of promotion.

I'm getting really tired of how passive the companions are when it comes to the Doctor. None of them questioned the the Doctor about why the fight with the Dalek was 'personal' or how she'd fought the Daleks before. And when she told them to stay in the TARDIS, they... did what she said?? Not one of them went to check on the Doctor while she confronted the Dalek, we didn't even get a scene of them inside the TARDIS wondering what was going on! I need at least one of them to start pushing back against her orders.

The scene with the "no Wi-Fi" family was awful, it reminded me of the worst moments from the RTD era except I don't think RTD would have been so mean-spirited and he definitely wouldn't have called the Dalek a 'refugee'.

The queer representation was meh. The team had already set themselves a high bar with this article and given that we had a queer companion last series, I wondered how they were going to be 'more inclusive'. I would have settled for a good effort but instead we had two secondary characters introduced as queer and then immediately killed off (the security guard in this episode doesn't even get a name). We had Angstrom, who has a dead wife (the dead wife wasn't necessary, Angstrom could have shown this by flirting with Yaz and the Doctor) and King James (who they couldn't kill because he's an actual historical character). I really hope that one of the main team is revealed to be queer next time because I don't have much faith in this team's handling of secondary characters.

71 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +15 points

There's nothing wrong with a low-key finale but this doesn't read as low-key. This is Tim Shaw manipulating reality warpers into committing multiple genocides, which as an idea sounds amazing but in execution is just 'meh' and it really shouldn't feel that way.

Then we have Graham stating that he's going to kill Tim Shaw, which came out of nowhere for me, because Graham's been portrayed as the sensible, practical member of Team TARDIS. We haven't seen anything from him that would foreshadow this reaction. We know he's been grieving for Grace but we never heard anything about his feelings regarding Grace's killer. People might say "well of course he wants revenge" but is it that inevitable? I think the series needed another episode (somewhere in the middle) that mentioned the Stenza/Tim in order to get that across. And then instead of killing Tim Shaw, Graham and Ryan lock him up in a prison forever and that's... the good option? Even The Family of Blood didn't pretend Ten's punishment of said family was good or merciful! I honestly don't see Tim's imprisonment as a tribute to Grace at all, but another symptom of the "well, they didn't kill him, so that's all right" running theme we've been seeing throughout the series and this complicated subject deserved a more thorough treatment.

The finale is the first episode in the whole of S11 where we've had some internal conflict between the Doctor and her new team. I kept waiting for one or more of them to push back against the Doctor or at least voice a dissenting opinion but it didn't happen until the very last moment and then it was wrapped up within 60 minutes. I'm not saying I need every Doctor/companion relationship to be as prickly as S8 Clara/Twelve but I do need some sort of tension and character development and that isn't happening.

Again, Yaz is given nothing to do. I hear she's much better in the comics and tie-in books but that doesn't really help when the TV show is what the majority of people see. She had no connection to Grace and so was left out of the big emotional arc of the series, which often led to her being left out of the action entirely. I can only conclude that three new companions AND a new Doctor was just too much, especially given that we only have 11 episodes (counting the New Year special).

I really love Jodie as the Doctor but it seems that the new writing team often fell into the trap of the Doctor being 'nice' rather than 'kind'. They're not the same thing. I hope she gets given more interesting material next year because she's a great actor and because our first female Doctor should be as rude, as annoying, as weird and scary as all the other Doctors before her.

71 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +7 points

My personal favourite episode of S11 (hope that's not too spoilery), this is a story only Doctor Who could do. It's the most experimental and the most surreal episode we've had so far, it is pure Who. I love the way this story forces Graham to examine his grief; I loved the way Thirteen bargained with the Solitract (echoes of Eleven confronting Akhaten way back in S7 but this is a much more compassionate offer, even though the Doctor is still tricking/manipulating this eldritch being). I really hope we get more from Hime, I thought this was brilliant.

I have two criticisms: firstly, as some have pointed out, the ending is a bit rushed and could have done with some editing/re-writing from the executive producer; secondly, Ryan points out that Hanna's dad has probably abandoned her and gets attacked by both Yaz AND the Doctor for the mere suggestion. Now, I know he shouldn't have done it in Hanna's hearing but it was a logical suggestion, especially since that's exactly what happened to Ryan and Yaz knows that by now. (I don't know if the Doctor does, I'd assume yes but we're not shown either way.) Then it turns out that's pretty much exactly what Hanna's dad has done and nobody acknowledges that poor Ryan was right or even apologises to him for the verbal berating, while Erik seems to get off very easy for (sorry to repeat this) abandoning his teenager daughter after using her disability against her. =/

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +4 points

I wonder if it was originally set on Pendle Hill but then they were advised to change it so they didn't get people nitpicking about things that didn't happen.

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +5 points

Thank the TARDIS this came straight after Kerblam! or I would have been left with serious doubts about the show. Finally we have an episode where the Doctor actually fights back against the system (though it has to directly affect her for that to happen), an episode which focuses on both external and internalised misogyny but also suggests that such things can be fought. I'm glad you didn't watch the "Coming Up" trailer for S11, Mark, because it was just a long series of guest star names, including Alan Cumming. James Stuart is the highlight of this episode for me, an antagonist who isn't evil but isn't benevolent either, certainly not to Thirteen (imagine how much easier it would have been for Twelve!). The only issue is that, once again, Yaz is not given much to do and doesn't seem as affected by the misogyny as the Doctor.

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 1 reply · +6 points

This is an episode trying HARD to catch you off guard and go "you thought!" but it fails so hard at that because of it.

Exactly, as noted in this thorough analysis, this episode very obviously apes the structure of many of Moffat's Who episodes in "initially appearing to tell one type of story, and then rejecting that story, typically on ethical or ideological grounds, generally by revealing that the story was in fact an entirely different type of story all along". Except Kerblam! pretends to be a satire about space!Amazon but then reveals itself as a nasty swipe at young working class people who are all apparently terrorists for wanting to change things.

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +6 points

Then near the end when they found the vat of human goo, I thought “maybe the computer has fucked up and thinks that each product has to contain 10% human”.

That would have been an interesting (and understandable) twist, at least!

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 3 replies · +7 points

It sets up a story about Late Stage Capitalism, but ends up about Automation - tow VERY different ideas with very different base concepts...

I honestly think the writer has not realised this, at all.

Yes, seems like someone should have pointed that out to him.

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 5 replies · +5 points

The AI system itself is killing people, pretty much like late stage capitalism. The problem is the writer doesn't see this as a fault in either system.

72 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 7 replies · +14 points

I really did not like this episode.

Being forced to watch the Doctor actually say the words "The system isn't the problem" in an episode that stated millennials should be grateful for whatever terrible job they can get (because we're entitled brats for wanting a living wage) and that Amazon is "misunderstood" was mindblowing in all the wrong ways. We've gone from Twelve's beautiful speech in Thin Ice to THIS. The whole reason the Doctor exists is because they ran away from Gallifrey and all its cloying stultifying systems in the first place.

"The system isn't the problem" may be the single most privileged line ever uttered by the Doctor, even compared to "Just walk around like you own the place", and that's REALLY saying something.