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11 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Does Stuff is goi... · 0 replies · +4 points

I can only imagine what you're going through right now. Take all the time you need. I know this community will be here for you whenever and however you need us.

26 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Sense8':... · 1 reply · +6 points

So I was planning to watch this with Mark, but ... it didn't happen. I got delayed by life, and since I'd never seen the show before I had to watch the first season, and now I'm finally caught up to this episode and I'll be watching the movie, aka Episode 12, some time this weekend.

All I really came here to say is MY GOD WHAT AN AMAZING SHOW!!! Seriously, this must be one of the best series in the entire history of television. I'm kicking myself now for not having watched it earlier and promoting the hell out of it to everyone I know back when it needed viewers. The past couple of weeks I've been telling everyone "OMG have you ever seen Sense8? If not, watch it NOW!" I know I'll be watching it through again at least once, probably by the end of the year.

So, thanks Mark for doing this and finally spurring me to see what turned out to be one of my Favorite Shows Ever.

30 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +3 points

Tim Shaw was improbably transported to a world where a pair of telekinetic immortals (okay, okay, super-long-lived) took him for their god and then followed his orders for more than three thousand years. You’d think he’d have slipped at some point along the way, or that both of them would have wised up after a few years to think about it. But instead, they murdered the populations of five worlds in the name of obedience to someone they both should have known was a false god. And the Doctor just excused it and let them go on their way.

Graham decided not to kill Tim Shaw, because he wasn’t worth it. Well, no, the guy was responsible for serial genocide, and will definitely murder more people if he ever gets out of the stasis chamber. He’s definitely worth killing. The Doctor’s position that “killing a killer makes you as bad as the killer” is flatly wrong in this case. In fact, taking this guy out for good probably would be a public service.

Also, two lives vs. seven billion is the easiest trolley problem ever.

31 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +3 points

As soon as I saw the mirror that didn’t reflect, I thought (a) “portal!” and (b) “stay the hell away from it!” Sadly, I was right on both counts.

Once again, we meet a “villain” that isn’t a villain; it’s a lonely universe seeking companionship that it can never have it because its fundamental nature precludes anyone else entering. Too bad the Doctor couldn’t set up a mirror in the TARDIS that she and the Solitract could talk through. She could have long chats with the reflection of a frog that speaks with Grace’s voice.

And Grace! Graham got an illusion of her; a puppet drawn from his memories and manipulated by the Solitract. All the grieving and healing he’d gone through, and the anti-zone ripped the bandage off.

I get where Erik was coming from and that he had his own grief to deal with, but gaslighting his blind daughter into thinking she was in a real-life horror movie scenario while he ran off to Other Mother was an incredibly shitty thing to do, and no amount of grief excuses that. Too bad Hanne apparently doesn’t have a backup. An uncle or aunt who will actually stick by her.

The flesh moths were creepy as hell.

“Reverse the polarity” was a nice touch.

The sheep will revolt in 2205. Good to know we have some time to prepare.

31 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +2 points

History be damned; if I were a time traveler I’d be inclined to interrupt any witch trial anywhere, on the assumption that a society's cultural development would continue whether or not a particular set of women were murdered. Sure, preventing the murders of several women in 17th century rural England might have ripple effects throughout world history … but probably not under the vague time travel rules of this show. Or maybe the Doctor’s interference was already part of history, as it appears from the ending.

The Doctor now has a new set of mud zombie villains. Now that the Morax were locked into the Earth in the 17th century, they can be brought back any time after that, to be defeated by either this Doctor or a later one. Somebody’s gonna break that lock eventually.

I know Becca was faking everything, but … “Now we have no way of knowing if she was a witch or not”? She DROWNED. Therefore, “not a witch” according to the rules of that fucked-up test. Not that I expect consistency from fanaticism. (Imagine how they’d react if they’d managed to drown the Doctor, and then lifted the dunking stool to find someone else quite alive and wearing her clothes.)

King James was traveling incognito in order to battle Satan. That was … just weird. But Alan Cumming was a lot of fun to watch. And I get how someone in his position wouldn’t trust anyone. Everything I know about that era comes from Shakespeare plays and period dramas, and most of them make European royal courts look like vipers’ nests.

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

I don’t pop bubblewrap. I’d probably have survived Charlie's evil plan.

I give this story credit for upending every assumption I made about the situation. No, the AI wasn’t evil; it was trying to help, and sent for the Doctor. No, the corporation wasn’t the villain this time; one of the janitors was a Luddite gone way overboard. No, the boss wasn’t the bad guy; he was trying to solve the problem and didn’t know who to trust. Good subversion of tropes there. And the creepy puppet androids …okay, they were still creepy puppet androids. But I guess I shouldn’t hold that against them.

I strongly disagree with the Doctor about the system not being the problem, but rather how people use it. Frequently the system really is the problem. Systems can create perverse incentives that seriously mess up the people in it. And sometimes the systems are simply designed to hurt people, or set them against each other. A better system wouldn’t have produced a Charlie.

Delivering the Doctor a fez was a nice touch. Perhaps Space Amazon’s records were a couple regenerations out of date?

32 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +2 points

My only exposure to the partition of India was through Deepa Mehta’s film Earth. That film had a lot of story elements similar to this one, so that made it familiar to me. I guess that should be expected, since some variation of this story was probably repeated a hundred thousand times over during the partition. The British finally got out of India, but couldn’t resist leaving an ungodly mess behind them.

For a moment, it looked like there were aliens using the cover of partition for something nefarious, but no: it turned out the “demons” here were just observers. The real monsters – the real demons – were humans driven by bigotry. Sadly, people like Manish exist everywhere, and all they ever need to show their true colors is a situation that gives them license to act on their bigotry. We’re seeing it all over the USA in the past couple of years.

Unlike in “Rosa”, Team TARDIS really did need to avoid interference this time around to preserve history. The Civil Rights Movement in the USA was going to continue whether or not Rosa Parks was arrested on that date on that bus. But here, Yaz’s very existence depended on Prem’s death and Umbreen’s later remarriage. So they all had no choice but to stand by and let him die.

32 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 1 reply · +5 points

This was an interesting spin on the “trapped on a spaceship with a hostile alien” story. The alien wasn’t hostile, just hungry and munching on the ship. So the Doctor solved two problems at once by feeding it the autodestruct. Although when they mentioned the thing was indestructible and fed on energy, my first thought was “throw it at a star.”

They lost the TARDIS again … this time because of a sonic mine in a junkyard. And, against all odds, just happened to be saved by a passing space ambulance. Fortunately, those translator implants still seem to be working. Or maybe there were universal translators built into the starship.

One of the patients was a pregnant male, from a world where males give birth to males and females give birth to females, and the show managed to avoid ridiculous jokes about it. Biologically, I imagine “males give birth to males and females give birth to females” is something evolution could produce, although the markers of “male” and “female” probably wouldn’t be anything remotely familiar to us as humans. Also, the terms "male" and "female" would be mere translator conventions for English speakers.

33 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 2 replies · +9 points

Some good human moments here. I am totally on board with Graham in wanting to travel with the Doctor while he deals with his grief. I'd probably do it too in his situation. Eventually he'll have to deal with a house full of memories, but he'll be able to deal with it better after a few months or a few years of travel. And we got to meet Yaz's family. And the Doctor has stumbled into a family of her own, at least for now. I love that there are three companions in this iteration.

Robertson was a complete asshole and I'm sorry a spider didn't eat him. He actually shut his bodyguard in with a giant spider. Being an American, his solution to every problem was either money or guns. #notallamericans, of course, but I have no problem with that portrayal. The story covered a lot of ground about corporate irresponsibility and the abuses of capitalism run wild. Fill a coal mine with hazardous waste, then build a luxury hotel on top? If you can make money at it, why not?

The giant spiders were nightmare fuel for arachnophobes. I don't have that particular fear, so it didn't bother me in that respect. What did bother me was the science. I spent a lot of the episode mentally calling bullshit on a lot of the "giant spider" stuff, but I was planning to let it slide because, hey, giant bugs are a classic cheap scifi concept. Lot of stuff in Doctor Who isn't remotely plausible, and we handwave it away. But then the resolution came with the mother spider unable to climb because of her size, and dying because she had become too big to breathe. At which point I basically threw up my hands, because it's unlikely a spider could get much bigger than a crab before issues of being too heavy to move and too big to breathe come into play. "Dying from getting too big" was the right solution, but would have happened when the spider was much, much smaller. If you're going to bring real science into your story, at least get the science right.

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

This episode didn't work for me from a time travel perspective. Want to mess with history in a big way? Take out the guy who committed an assassination or decided to start a war. But interrupting mass movements arising in response to social conditions? Might as well try to hold back a flood with a broom handle.

The Civil Rights Movement was millions of people working for decades toward a common goal. Some people become inspirational symbols, but no single person is indispensable to a movement. Take Rosa Parks off that bus, civil rights in America will still happen. She'll be arrested on another bus on another day. Or someone else will be. Or some other outrage in some other city will spark a reaction that gains national attention. Whatever happens, people will still march, facing bricks and beatings and police dogs and firehoses in pursuit of justice.

I'm okay with Krasko's motivation being to tamper with history. He's not very bright, so maybe he won't understand that heroes of a movement are not the movement. However, the Doctor should have known otherwise, and not spent half the episode jumping through ridiculous hoops to make sure the arrest happened on that bus on that night.

(Although .. a racist from the 79th century? I seriously doubt that our contemporary concepts of "race" will last that long, not to mention that every human by that time would likely appear "biracial" by our standards.)

Putting aside my conceptual problems with the premise, I liked the execution of the episode. The casting was excellent, and show did a great job of recreating that period in history. I was instantly scared for Ryan, since he clearly didn't realize what he'd gotten into at first, and then I was constantly worried he'd say the wrong thing to the wrong white person, or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he got to hang out with Martin Luther King, Jr. for a while, so that probably made the whole trip worth it. Yaz was seriously off-balance trying to figure out where she fit in to the social hierarchy; there were no seats for "other." That was a nice touch, and underscored just how absurd the racial caste system was (and is, because we're still a long way from eradicating it). And we got to see the Doctor be properly terrifying to a time-traveling villain. Jodie Whittaker hasn't grabbed my instant love the way Matt Smith did, but she's growing on me fast.