Series 10 In Review

Series 10 in Review

Christmas may be a painfully long way off, but when we think about it, we’ve actually been handed twelve days of gifts, courtesy of the BBC. (Sorry we didn’t get you kids anything in return…unless you count merchandising profits, in which case, you’re welcome.) Series 10 of Doctor Who was arguably a triumph, particularly for those who have been stalwart in Stephen Moffat’s defense, been overwhelmed by Peter Capaldi’s fanboy-earns-title-role portrayal of the Doctor, and the highly praiseworthy performances by Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez, and the incomparable Pearl Mackie.

We may be in complete denial of the fact that the end of an era is nigh, and there may be those rabble-rousing few who grumble “good riddance” in troll-scented tones across cyberspace, but we here at the Citadel studios consider ourselves fortunate that we have a dozen entertaining, thought-provoking, sometimes amusing, and very often emotionally stirring episodes to add to the Whovian pantheon. It has been a stellar season, and we are the better for having experienced it.

This week, we look back at the breadth of Series 10, and reflect on its entertainment and emotional effectiveness. Joined by friend of the cast Kathleen Schowalter, we unpack the themes, tones, and conveyed message of the season as a whole, wherever applicable. Friendly disagreements ensue, and differing opinions are acknowledged and respected, but very little blood is shed, honestly.

BONUS: We run through the obligatory superlatives among the episodes, selecting our highs, lows, cheers and jeers among the twelve.

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World Enough and Time

World Enough and Time

We could not count the times over the course of the past five-plus years on GPR that we have come to the defense of Steven Moffat. His writing, his style of production, his casting choices, his vision for the series, his whimsical-bordering-upon-maddening way of talking about the program through vague words and red herrings. Through it all, we recognized that he is a consummate fan, like us in many ways, and he revels in putting forth stories and ideas that delight and astonish him — in hopes that we will share in that delight and astonishment.

With this most recent episode, he must be grinning like the cat who ate the canary at what he has accomplished…and he’s not quite finished with us yet.

This week, we release our grip on the edges of our seats long enough to reflect on “World Enough and Time”, the penultimate episode of Series 10, and the first of an unofficial trilogy leading up to the end of Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, and the close of Peter Capaldi’s time as the Twelfth Doctor. Given the perfect storm of a solid TARDIS team, the fascinating return of Mondasian Cybermen, and the baffling duo of Missy and the Harold Saxon Master, we had high expectations. We were not wrong. In fact, we were unprepared for how intense it would be. We discuss the emotions (many), the tone of Rachel Talalay’s direction (chilling), the complexity yet plausibility of the script (wonderful), and the questions left to be answered…or so we hope…with the series finale episode to come, and yet a regeneration that is reported to occur months later, but yet…BUT YET.

Oh, Steven; you brilliant, maddening, magnificent bastard, you.

BONUS: We announce the winner of our latest listener contribution contest, where we discussed the DW contributions of Mark Gatiss!

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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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Thin Ice

Doctor Who Thin Ice

When you walk the world for a while, you gather a collection of life experiences, each of which may teach you something: about yourself; about those around you; about existence itself. Those experiences give you a perspective on things, your “worldview”, if you will, that shapes decisions yet to be made, influences your reactions to future events. It also has a profound impact on what you will tolerate, what you simply cannot, and what you simply move beyond.

We as 21st century humans have a journey of ninety to a hundred years at the very most, and our opinions can develop to a near-impenetrable state over that time. Imagine the fortress around the worldview of a traveler over two millennia old.

This week, we step back to 19th century London, and walk the surface of the Thames in “Thin Ice”. As Sarah Dollard’s sophomore contribution to the series, we delight in the continued chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie, find ourselves fascinated by a discussion over lives saved and taken, scream in triumph one uncharacteristic but fantastic punch, and get word from Dollard herself about that succinct but powerful “species” speech:

But before we begin anything, let’s just take a moment to remember Pete. We feel like we barely knew you.

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