Archive for category Series Issues

Series Issues: Doctor Who’s Twice Upon A Time

Vworp… Vworp… Vworp… Spoilersss!

Doctor-Who-Twice-Upon-A-Time

(Source: BBC)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Doctor Who’s Christmas Special happened and with it we have Peter Capaldi’s final bow as The Doctor. For some, an epic last hurrah to his tenure as our favourite Time Lord. For others, a lukewarm letdown for the Twelfth Doctor’s swan song.

But for every fan, it was also the first on-screen appearance of Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor. And yes, it all ends in a cliffhanger.

To bring it all to a close, we have David Bradley as the First Doctor. That means he gets to impersonate the late great William Hartnell as well as deliver a few lines from another time long ago with mixed results. Mark Gatiss is also along as the Captain, a little easter egg for long time Whovians. I should add that quite a few people will determine his lineage on appearance alone. We also get Pearl Mackie reprising her role of Bill Potts for the entire episode.

In the end, we get a final episode of Doctor Who with a twist. Testimony, the supposed antagonist, is not the big bad. There is no big bad. And with that, we get a surprisingly emotive retelling of the Christmas armistice of 1914 during the First World War plus the passing of the torch from Capaldi to Whittaker. Does it work? Yes, it does! I’m not sure why some people hesitate or consider it subtle. A few things work, a few things seem a bit unnecessary but there’s no bloated filler. It’s a good, lean and filling last meal of a Doctor Who Christmas special.

Highs, Lows and Vworps:

  • Peter Capaldi is given his times to shine both as the Twelfth Doctor taking on seemingly unsurmountable odds and being flummoxed by Bill Potts or The First Doctor. He also sends advice to the next Doctor in line as his time for regenerating finally comes.
  • David Bradley’s plays William Hartnell playing the Doctor. There’s really very little “The Doctor” moments with him. He never really does dispense advice as much as he criticizes Capaldi’s Doctor, but he’s still fun to watch. There’s a couple of dated remarks that are supposed to be lightly sexist and end up cringy. I’m not asking to revision history but you could’ve had the First Doctor learn from those mistakes and evolve a little more.
  • Pearl Mackie plays the always fun and unbreakable Bill Potts. And yes, it’s still her and her memories formed in Testimony. She still challenges and moves the Doctor to action and/or emotion. I’m sad she’s not hanging around as a companion.
  • Mark Gatiss plays the Captain, who only gets to state his identity at the end. It’s Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart. It’s extremely obvious from the beginning that he’s related to the Brigadier, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, the leader of UNIT played by Nicholas Courtney who has made appearances in the show from 1968 to 2008.
  • There’s a brief but meaningful appearance of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, finally giving The Doctor back his memories of her. I guess Clara Oswald eventually gets added to Testimony, but as we know she’s still out there. I wonder if we could put Ashildr and Clara’s diner in a future episode. (See: Series Issues: Doctor Who 9×12 – Hell Bent)
  • There’s also a brief cameo by Matt Lucas as Nardole. Of course, Nardole gets no respect as usual.
  • The face-hugging things were stupid. Sorry, that has been overdone. Only Aliens gets to keep using facehuggers from now on.
  • The secret stash of Aldebaran brandy in the TARDIS is not known by Twelve until River Song reveals the secret panel to him before learning he’s the new incarnation. Does this mean that the First Doctor learned this and then forgot it? The Doctor is supposedly immune to paradox (so is the show, let’s be honest).
  • And finally, it’s Jodie Whittaker’s first on-screen appearance as The Doctor. She doesn’t quite get to stretch her wings as Thirteen though. With the TARDIS broken up and her new occupant in free fall, we’re left where all the Doctor’s adventures begin again: a cliffhanger.

That will do for now.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Series Issues: Preacher gives up his soul in Sokosha

Spoilers might be willing to make a deal.

preacher-s2e6-sokosha

The fact that Preacher can still surprise the audience with an episode such as Sokosha speaks volumes about its writing. This one was so good it almost felt like a season finale. We get an introduction to the soul selling and buying business. It seems that’s just for us because as we learn later on, Jesse not only knows about it but mentions it was the family business. L’Angelles? Did Jesse’s Dad change his last name to Custer because he was escaping his past?

The Saint of Killers has caught up with Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy. They barely manage to give him the slip, but unfortunately Dennis gets caught. The trio has been researching the cowboy’s backstory – apparently also recorded in audio books for our listening convenience. This is enough for Jesse to try to make a deal with the Saint. The reason why the Saint can’t ever get to heaven is he lacks a soul. Now Jesse has an hour to get him one, or the Saint is going to make his friends about a head shorter in height.

Even with Jesse’s secret family background, which will need to be explored in a future episode, he finds himself left out in the cold. All his business contacts have been pushed out by a brand new Japanese venture, incorporated. The show has no qualms shining a light on foreign corporations pushing out local companies. It takes some out of the box thinking, but Jesse finally manages to get them to weight something that belongs to the Saint – a bullet he fished out of a yogurt – with the soul fragments they carry around. Nothing matches, which of course points to one solution: he’s going to end up using a percentage of his own soul.

When the deal is finally completed, the Saint gets 1% of Jesse’s soul. There is a twist, however. Now that the cowboy has a soul, he becomes vulnerable to the Word – to Genesis. That was a nice plot twist. Now Jesse gets to seal the Saint inside an armoured truck and sink said truck into a swamp. Nicely done, but chances are he won’t stay down there for long.

Highs/Lows/ISoldMySoulToTheCompanyStore:

  • The Indian casino is running a tribute to Ganesh called: “The Day the Dying Died!”
  • Dennis is Cassidy’s son. Or Cassidy is lying. It still seems he cares about him, although he doesn’t remember to warn him before leaving. He only tells Tulip after they’ve managed to get the deal. I would expect he’d be a tad more worried, but I guess being immortal must come with memory issues or he’s made the whole thing up.
  • Jesse L’Angelle. So the Custers took on a new name to fit better in Texas. What exactly went down in New Orleans, and are we laying foundation for more backstory later?
  • Cassidy non-casually mentions Lara the lounge singer to get Jesse in trouble with Tulip.
  • We’ve literally transplanted the show from Texas to New Orleans. With all the seeding for stories of the Grail and the soul-selling business, it would seem like a fertile ground for more episodes.
  • You know that the Saint of Killers is going to get out of that truck and get his guns back.

That will do for now.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Series Issues: GoT stalls in Stormborn

Let’s give them something they want to see.

got-s7e02-stormborn

(Source: HBO)

That’s the general feeling I got last week and even more from Game of Thrones’ Stormborn this week. A number of premises were thrown in the air, but it doesn’t feel like nothing has landed. It almost feels like we’ve stepped out of the books completely (yes, I know we have, bear with me) and have lost all direction so we’re rushing in for a confrontation.

First, Jon Snow still knows nothing. He’s got Sam’s raven (we remind you there’s a no-raven-ing-and-riding campaign in Westeros) and he’s also got an invitation from Tyrion to visit Daenerys’ court. So, naturally he’s going because… Goddamit, Jon Snow. You have to take decisions that will NOT leave your house, your sister and all the damn North exposed. Send a freaking emissary. Fuck. Jon is putting way too much trust on his luck. Don’t get cocky because your name is in the credits. Get back to Winterfell.

This literally is happening because fans want to see Daenerys and Jon meet and have some sort of whatever. The show is still doing fan servicing and I was way too lenient last week about it. People need to wake up and that means killing someone.

Daenerys is listening to Tyrion, who wants to reunite the houses. The problem is not as simple since Daenerys army is seen as a foreign power. Tyrion is suggesting to lay siege to King’s Landing using the native Westerosi armies of Tyrell, Dorne and Greyjoy. Mind you, Greyjoy is a divided house right now. Olenna is there, and she no longer yearns for a peaceful resolution. She’s here for revenge. She’s got very valid points to make.

Arya runs into Hot Pie. Another fan wish, but she does get something out of it. Arya learns Jon Snow has reclaimed Winterfell and the Boltons are dead. Now it’s time to rejoin civilization. So when she runs into Nymeria leading a pack of wolves and the direwolf just runs away, it feels like the Gods letting Arya know she will always have a wild side to herself. Will Arya fit in again with the crowd at Winterfell? Anyhow, I think Nymeria is bound to appear again one day.

Samwell Tarly has read some controversial manuscript and is going for the Hail Mary pass approach to curing Jorah Mormont. Again, this feels like another fan-induced story line, but I guess we’re just rushing in so he can still be relevant.

But finally, we’re back in Game of Thrones tradition with that last encounter as the Silence, Euron’s ship, splits Yara’s command ship in half. It’s Greyjoy versus Greyjoy. Euron kills two Sand Snakes, takes Ellaria Sand captive, takes Yara captive and his fleet burns down every other ship Yara had. He also captures Yara herself and taints Theon, who chooses to dive into the water.

Highs/Lows/Silence:

  • The show is now granting fan service scenarios left and right. Yes, we’re going to see Dany meet Jon. Also, about Dany’s allies meeting – how did everyone get there so quickly?
  • Daenerys has both Varys and Melisandre now. This is getting serious. And yet, after the last events, it does seem that she has lost support. The faction of the Greyjoys that followed her is in shambles. The remaining Dorne are now hostage to Euron’s fleet. I have to wonder where does that leave the Tyrells.
  • I gotta admire how they have crafted Euron’s ship Silence into a scary haunted castle. The extra two sails make it look like a dragon’s wings. It has some sort of armored bow to crack another ship’s hull in half. The bowsprit comes down as a raiding bridge.
  • Also, Euron’s axe has an octopus motif.
  • Do we really have to talk to House Tarly? King’s Landing might need even less scenes than the ones we have.
  • Jon Snow could’ve shown some restraint with Littlefinger. Petyr Baelish is planning something, and it’s best to stay neutral.
  • Nymeria turns away from Arya. It’s just one last goodbye before Nymeria returns to save Arya when she’s in dire straits sometime later.
  • Despite whether the show is rushing or not, Arya learning that Jon Snow is in Winterfell was definitely a moment. You can see the hope seep onto Arya’s face.
  • Qyburn’s ideas are always sinister but never boring. That being said, I don’t think that crossbow is going to be as nimble as to pick a dragon in mid-air.
  • And talking about a counter against dragons, I can’t believe a certain instrument has not made its way to the show from the books yet…

That will do for now.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment