Posts Tagged Peter Capaldi

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.

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Series Issues: Doctor Who Falls, Finale Thoughts

Spoilers might shoot you in the back.

dr-who-s10e12-the-doctor-falls

(Source: BBC One)

You know how this goes, as much as that spoiler warning goes up. I don’t really like to recap an episode, specially when I like it so much. The series has been giving little hints about something else, and as it happens it goes all the way back to the first episode, to The Pilot.

But I’m jumping ahead. Pearl Mackie has been a subtle force to be reckoned with as Bill Potts. I really thought that we lost Bill. As it happens, we get to see Bill as Bill again. Bill is still a Cyberman. We see Bill because she still has her self-image as human. It’s a really good way to perceive her sometimes as she sees herself and sometimes as the Cyberman that other people cower away from.

They’re going into a battle that they can’t win. The Cybermen are coming. The Master and Missy are leaving, despite the pleas from the Doctor. Missy hesitates longer than normal, and we know we could be seeing a turn. A turn that when it comes, it comes a little too late. The Master seems to have a problem turning into Missy, and Missy seems to have evolved beyond her past incarnation. A pity that the Doctor never gets to see it.

There’s a quixotic attitude in the Doctor for this confrontation, a sense that he’s going into a battle he can’t possible win. He knows it, he knows the odds, he’s just doing it because it’s the right thing to do. A heroic and altruistic mindset that knows that even if he gives his life he might be giving the small community of humans a very slim chance, a chance that might translate into barely a few more drops of time living. There was a certain feeling, like running at windmills, of bravery regardless of outcome.

I was glad to see that Bill was spared the cursed life of a Cyberman prison. I didn’t expect Heather to turn up (the water fiend/friend from The Pilot). Now what used to be a doomed destiny becomes Bill’s chance at freedom. In typical cruel irony, the Doctor doesn’t get to see Bill’s future.

Instead, he’s transported to his beloved TARDIS. He’s sustained enough damage though. With an imminent regeneration looming, the Doctor stalls. He doesn’t want to regenerate. He doesn’t want to change anymore. It’s a middle-regeneration crisis he’s going through. He stumbles out of the TARDIS, still trying to put out the regeneration fires. Then a voice calls out and he calls back.

It’s the Doctor. Not a Doctor, but THE Doctor. The first ever Doctor in the flesh. Of course this is David Bradley (Filch!) playing the role of the original William Hartnell as he did back in 2013’s An Adventure in Space and Time.

Highs/Lows/FinaleThoughts:

  • I was glad to see Pearl Mackie again in the flesh, even if it was Bill having a illusory image of herself. That was very well executed.
  • The Master and Missy’s double betrayal. Backstabbing each other is the literal interpretation of the Master sabotaging himself.
  • Missy’s sonic is an umbrella. A dark Mary Poppins indeed. I will miss Missy though.
  • Nardole actually organizes the resistance. That almost makes me forgive him for running away and leaving the Doctor in the hands of the Master and Missy.
  • “Where there’s tears, there’s hope.” That line had a lot of reach in this episode, when said by the Doctor to a doomed Bill, when said by Heather to a converted Bill and when said by Bill to a dying Doctor.
  • The Doctor figuratively becoming Don Quixote and charging at the Cybermen as if they were his proverbial windmills. Also, Nardole blows up a windmill.
  • The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) meeting the First Doctor (William Hartnell played by David Bradley).
  • I thought The Doctor would end up using his regenerative energy to restore Bill Potts’ body. Then again, I like this solution much better.
  • If the intention was to have Heather be the solution for Bill’s predicament, I wish some more forecasting had been used sprinkled across the rest of the series. Some scenes make allusion at Bill’s tears, however. I guess we just had to believe there was no way out for Bill.
  • The mystery of how the Twelfth and the First Doctor meet, and the actual regeneration to Thirteen will be revealed in the 2017’s Christmas Special.

That will do for now.

 

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Series Issues: Doctor Who 9×12 – Hell Bent (2)

Spoilers might be extracted and bring back into your timeline.

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

It’s the season finale with this week’s Doctor Who 9×11: Hell Bent (2). The episode starts in a diner somewhere in the middle of the desert in the US, with the Doctor telling a story to a young waitress named Clara that doesn’t seem to recognize him. If you have been following along, we’ve all but put the Doctor at the end of its rope already. Just like a tiger, the Doctor proves once again he’s at his most dangerous when cornered. Unarmed and without a prayer, he’s sent word to Gallifrey that he’s return. He’s spent four billion years inside the confession disc. To the Lord President of Gallifrey, Rassilon the Resurrected (Donald Sumpter), he’s a nuisance from the past he’s glad to eliminate. As he’s about to quickly learn, you don’t make an enemy of the man who once was the War Doctor. He’s remembered by the General (Ken Bones) and his fellow Timelords as a war hero and that is not something to be taken lightly.

I prefer not to give out every single resolve to every single conundrum, specially when I’ve really enjoyed the episode. So if you’re reading this before you watch your dvr, I am giving out spoilers without a full story. The Doctor has arrived to Gallifrey. It’s what he’s always wanted. Pause. It’s not what he’s always wanted. There’s a level in Gallifrey that nobody visits. The Cloisters. It houses a giant database, but it’s also guarded by shadows of past Timelords and enemies trapped in there now used to guard it. The Doctor takes a peek. Ohila (Clare Higgins), High Priestess of the Sisterhood of Karn and Very Important Recurring Character Due To Her Long Name, warns him that at end of time you’re likely to meet a few immortals. #Foreshadowing.

With Rassilon deposed, the Doctor seems to be in control. In the offices of the City Council, he talks to the General and Ohila of the Long Title with apparent little regard for consequences. Ohila warns him not to play the fool. The Doctor’s response, “It’s the end of the universe, it’s the only time I’ve got!” Classic. Anyhow, with the menace of the Hybrid coming close, the Doctor needs help. Or something like that. What he really does is create an excuse to use Gallifreyan tech and extract Clara at the very last instance before her demise. Then he takes a gun and kills the General. Let’s back up a bit, obviously the Timelords are not ok bringing back to life Clara since her death is a historical fact, fixed in time. But the Doctor is really breaking every rule. The General didn’t seem like a bad guy. Then she regenerates to be played by actress T’nia Miller. Brilliant casting.

The Doctor and Clara run down to the Cloisters. The place is crawling with ghosts and escaped enemies now used as guards. A Dalek asking to be exterminated, two Weeping Angels who still have enough zeal and a Cyberman are some of its inhabitants. As the Doctor aims to open a hatch with a complex lock, he constantly dodges Clara’s questioning. When the General and Ohila catch up with them, they’re questioned by Clara. She learns that the Doctor spent four and a half billion years in the Confession Dial, which was created by Gallifreyan technology of course. It’s a distraction as well. The Doctor has managed to open the hatch. And, as Clara reveals as she quickly follows suit, he’s stealing a TARDIS.

In the end, the Doctor will meet again with Me (Maisie Williams) who proposes the Hybrid may not be one person, but two. A passionate Timelord and a human companion for which said Timelord would give everything including breaking the rules. But the Doctor has a plan, a plan to avoid getting tracked down by his pursuers. A device that will wipe Clara’s memory from any records of him. Anybody got a flashback to Donna Noble’s fate in Season Four?

But Clara has been hearing the whole conversation. Fortunately, Clara gets her say. She states it is her right to keep those memories. And she’s actually altered the device the Doctor was going to use by using the sonic glasses. The Doctor doesn’t know if she’s bluffing or if she’s actually capable of doing that but for drama’s sake they decide to use the device anyway. That means either of them could be the one to lose their memories. In the end it’s the Doctor.

Here’s where we go back to the diner and realize that it’s Clara who’s actually been aware of who the Doctor is and not him. And as she leaves him, it’s revealed the diner was a TARDIS in disguise. This TARDIS is piloted by Me and Clara Oswald. The latter explains she does want to return to the last instance before her demise but she thinks they have some wiggle room. So their final destination will be Gallifrey, they’re just taking the long way around.

As for the Doctor, he’s left in the desert but not abandoned. His TARDIS, the TARDIS that has the painting of Clara and the flowers on it, is right there. It’s time for yet a new start. Awaiting for him is a new sonic screwdriver. Up on the blackboard there’s one last message from Clara, the Clara he’ll never remember: “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor.”

Highs/Lows/WhereWeAreGoingWeDontNeedRoads:

  • You probably remember Rassilon from The End Of Time played by Timothy Dalton. The clue is the ridiculous shoulder-neck-wear. Donald Sumpter now dons the outrageous headpiece and pomposity.
  • The General was played nicely by Ken Bones first, but when T’nia Miller dons the armor, she has one of the best lines ever after revealing that last one was her only incarnation as man, “My goodness, how do you cope with all that ego?”
  • The show almost replicated the mind wipe of Donna Noble back during David Tennant’s tenure as the rebellious Timelord. That was really a problematic finale, and I am glad it didn’t go down the same way. However, I’m also glad that we got to hear Clara Oswald protesting as Donna Noble never had the chance to do: Yes, they both had the right to keep their memories. Only one did.
  • Let me be candid here. There’s a reason why I love Doctor Who. It’s the same reason why although I love Star Wars and Star Trek, I will admit that Star Wars is not really about Science-Fiction. It’s about adventures and fantasy with a Science-Fiction theme. Star Wars has been more about pirates and princesses that it has ever been about space. In the same vein, Doctor Who is not really about time travel and more about adventure and fantasy than it has been about science.
  • And that reason above is why I can deal with the huge plot hole left behind by Clara’s re-existance. I mean, technically she won’t be traveling with the Doctor – but she will be traveling.
  • Huge throwback with the stolen TARDIS’ decor back to the first doctor. And as Me reveals, this TARDIS’ camouflage circuit seems to have frozen itself into Diner mode. I’d love to see the adventures of Clara and Me – but I’m glad they somehow are left to roam free without the Doctor ever knowing.
  • The Doctor walks in with the sonic glasses. They make a sound when left on the counter. I guess Clara took those.
  • The Doctor also makes a reference to Amy and Rory… But his previous form (11th – Matt Smith) knew Clara. Does this mean he doesn’t remember his regeneration?

That will do for now.

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