The Doctor Falls

The Doctor Falls

How many times have we known that we were witnessing the waning moments of the current Doctor’s term, regeneration was nigh, and that heartache was imminent, yet we were riveted to the screen? And in those moments, how much time was spent in the episode where the Doctor himself knew that time was at hand? With few exceptions, these exercises in loss (for both character and audience) have been graciously brief, relatively speaking. The quick-pull of the bandage, if you will.

When your showrunner is also a showman, however, and knows that the fiercest arrows in his quiver are named “drama”, “emotion”, “witness”, and “time”. Moffat will ensure that hearts are laid bare by the events to come, the reactions will be profound and cathartic, they will seek to shake the core of all who take part, and — as we now see — they will not be brief. We will linger.

This week, we draw the incredible tenth series of the renewed Doctor Who to a close (if you will) with “The Doctor Falls”. We scream for respite from the pain of Bill’s predicament, and get a most unexpected response. We beg for the resolution of a millennia-old struggle between Doctor and Master, and are handed an outcome that leaves us agape. We hope for a closure to the Twelfth Doctor’s struggle to rediscover himself, a ‘good man’, renewed as the champion of those who cry out for help, anywhere and at any time, and find the most unlikely guide steps forward to aid in that last journey. Christmas of 2017 is going to be one very melancholy holiday, indeed.

BONUS: We step through the many and various responses to our tweeted question about Capaldi possibly emerging as some listeners’ ‘official’ Doctor after Series 10.

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The Pyramid At the End of the World

Pyramid at the End

Oh, to be the middle child. Often forgotten, overlooked, disregarded, considered to be the “least likely to be a problem”. Such a moniker could be a curse upon the bearer — or a call to action. Sometimes, the “not oldest” and “not youngest” chooses to be something more. Something…enigmatic. (Oh, and sometimes they just become Jan Brady.)

This week, we look to the second component of Moffat’s final trilogy, “The Pyramid At the End of the World”. The Doctor is on to the Monks’ deception, in some small part, but is thoroughly concerned by their abilities and predictive accuracy (given their Matrix-like simulations seen the week prior). We discuss the fate of semi-cybernetic companions, the inexplicable archaic complexity of a modern biotech lab, the odd absence of UNIT, an alien race’s dependence upon ‘consent’, and how the Doctor’s sight factors into this as the “real” world…or is it?

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Oxygen

Doctor Who: Oxygen

When you’ve run from all the bogey-men, the ghosts and ghouls, the shadows within the shadows, the killer robots, and the bug-eyed aliens bent on your demise, it’s a reasonable assumption that the next threat to terrify and terrorize us is…rampant galactic capitalism. CURSE YOU, EMPTY SUITS. *fist shake*

This week, we rub furiously at our eyes after a viewing of “Oxygen”, the fifth episode of Series 10. Discussions are had over the respiratory systems of Time Lords, Moffat’s new-found ability to kill at will, Bill going blue, and what Nardole’s organic-to-bionic ratio really is.

Bonus Segment:

“Say Something Nice” — we have to find at least three positive things to say about a randomly chosen episode that comes from the bottom 10% of major Whovian ranking polls. Pollyanna-ism, away!

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Smile

Smile

Language, like a living species, is an dynamic construct, ever evolving and subject to the influences of time. Certain rules and applications are introduced or are rendered obsolete as the populace drifts in or out of favor with them, either as a result of generational or regional usage and trend. (Look to the yearly addenda to the Oxford English Dictionary to see the brouhaha that erupts every time a new term is considered for inclusion.) Is it arguable that the emergence and exponential rise in popularity of emoji are a natural bend in the river of etymology?

Are we — as some critique — somehow ‘regressing’ to the age of hieroglyphs and simplified pictographic representation? Moreover, is this shift in communication a means of expanding and emphasizing the intended message to be conveyed, or rather, limiting the fuller phonemic language, and thus oversimplifying our word-set, leading to misinterpretation and lack of clarity? Are we becoming more emoji-eloquent, or at risk of nearing Orwell’s Newspeak?

If writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce is correct, just wait a little while longer, and ask your refrigerator or toaster. It’ll be happy to discuss the subject with you. [chin-scratchy-think-face]

This week, we share our emotions and reactions right out on the open to the Series 10 episode, “Smile”. We discuss the enjoyable performances from Capaldi and Mackie, the strange little prelude that gives Nardole the brush-off (and raises the “Oath” question again), and look painfully hard at the future-human-colony-meets-misguided-artificial-intelligence storyline that follows. We’d go into more detail here, but we’d rather you [ear] to the [speaker].

BONUS: We play a fast round of “The <BLANK> of the Daleks”, another mini-game we’re testing for future convention use in the greater hoopla that is the “Oh No, Who Didn’t!” game.

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The Pilot

S10E01 The Pilot

There are many different strategies Whovians take when trying to convince a new viewer to delve into the program that they love so dearly. From carefully selected and sequenced primer sets, to take-it-from-the-top viewing marathons, the unique and often fickle nature of each observer could react favorably or adversely to any one of them. We are a subjective species, and our personal experiences have a profound impact on our receptiveness to anything new. With that in mind, if the creators of that new material are openly trying to present something that can win the attention, hopefully admiration, and in a perfect world, the advocacy of a new audience, while still holding the passions of seasoned viewers, the task is a formidable one.

Somewhere, in a comfortably lit corner office in Cardiff, Steven Moffat smiles wanly to himself, rolls up his sleeves, and crouches over a keyboard. Challenge accepted.

This week, we celebrate an exceptional gift in the return of Doctor Who for Series 10, in “The Pilot”. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie’s rapport and chemistry are a delight, Matt Lucas surprises us all with his comedic reserve, Murray Gold continues to elate and wound us with his score, and we revel in the unanswered questions that make for a brilliant Whovian adventure. We draw conclusions as to the role of both companions as representatives of differing viewer categories, the dangers of unnecessary punchlines, and of course, the treasure trove of references the episode throws about like so many sidelong Movellan soldiers. TL:DR? We spacking loved it.

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