I’ll start with the problems:
- The trailers spoiled what was a cleverly done slow reveal of the baddies. So we all knew John Simm was coming back to play the master and that the classic Mondasian Cybemen were going to appear.
- Pearl Mackie put in another tremendous performance but once again Bill had to die-but-not really to give the Doctor something to do. As an actor Mackie is getting opportunities to shine in a role that is easily overshadowed but as a character Bill is being treated badily by the scripts. I do hope she continues into next season.
Yeah but, this was very good. Lots of great concepts including a spaceship on the edge of black hole with huge time differences between the top and the bottom. This sciency enough idea was well integrated into the whole story – allowing Bill’s stay in the creepy body-horror hospital to last for years while the Doctor spends a few minutes on exposition and trying to get into the elevator at the other end of the ship.
Michelle Gomez has been somewhat more restrained as Missy this series but got to have more fun this episode. Mocking the basic tropes of the series (including the role of the ‘companion’ and the real name of the Doctor) added more levity to what was a very dark episode.
Good solid science fiction but will the curse of the two-parter strike next week?
The retro-style episodes take an overt aim for the Sylvester McCoy era, with a story by Rona Munro who last wrote for Doctor Who in the 1980s. The McCoy elements come out in the general oddness but also in how harsh the Doctor is to the young Pictish warrior woman – at times the dialogue being quite jarring given the character of Capaldi’s Doctor.
We are in Scotland during the Roman occupation of the rest of Britain. Bill endears us all again but this time by revealing her obsession with the lost Ninth Legion of the Roman Empire. That includes a shout out to the children’s classic The Eagle of the Ninth.
Of course the lost legion was killed by an alien monster and so the Picts, what’s left of the Roman centurions, Bill, Nardole and the Doctor unite to defeat it. However, the story to get to that point is nicely done, making use of the the classic Doctor and Companion go off on slightly different adventures.
The fact that crows can talk was a nice touch, making the gritty, realistic setting have a sense of the deep past and misty mythology. Some neccesary Scottish jokes and Latin Tardis translation jokes kept the humour up.
The main story finishes quite early leaving a longer epilogue on the Tardis where Missy has been doing some odd jobs…
Next week: Mondasian Cybermen!
A quiet Friday evening…
[Timothy the Talking Cat] Movie night!
[Camestros Felapton] Hmm? Sorry, I’d nodded off. What are we watching?
[Timothy] A special treat – 🎶Wonder Woman 🎶 here to fight the force of evil 🎶
[Camestros] It’s a bit late to go the cinema…
[Timothy] I am boycotting the cinema due to its blatant cat discrimination.
[Camestros] Technically the cinema is boycotting you. So, you’ve somehow got a pirate copy of the new Wonder Woman movie?
[Timothy] I guess so – I downloaded it from the internet like the mad-skillz edgy cyberpunk hacker that I am.
[Camestros] Dare I ask where from?
[Timothy] A strange and sinister corner of the shadowy reaches of the web called ’Netflix’.
[Camestros] You hacked Netflix? And Netflix had Wonder Woman?
[Timothy] I stole your password.
[Camestros] No! When?
[Timothy] After I stole your phone…
[spoilers, of sorts, after the fold…]
In a previous post I looked at the egg like oddity that is a Kinder Joy. In the interest of balance here is the more traditional Kinder Surprise.
Inside the egg is a mysterious capsule…
Did I mention that the inside surface of the outer egg is white chocolate? This has always seemed odd to me. Wouldn’t it look more egg-like if the OUTSIDE was white? Taste wise it’s not that great but there isn’t a lot of it.
When I was a kid I think the capsule split into two pieces but these days it’s a more integrated unit.
Time to assemble and it was a minor challenge – which is good I think. I’m not talking about some serious intellectual challenge but you have to pause a moment to think about it.
Good dog. Would rescue from inside a chocolate egg. 12/10.
It is Mark Gattis time on Doctor Who. Long time collaborator with Stephen Moffat both off screen and on screen (e.g. as Mycroft in Sherlock), Gattis has never written any truely stand-out episodes but has managed a few goodish ones (e.g The Unquiet Dead).
As episodes go, this one is almost the platonic ideal of a Gattis one. Victorian setting with some interesting twists (British soldiers on Mars in a steampunkish aesthetic), a classic “monster” (the Ice Warriors) but an otherwise conventional story.
The backstory (explained by the officers to Bill on Mars) is that British soldiers in SOuth Africa found an Ice Warrior spaceship with a hibernating Ice Warrior. Christening him “Friday”, the Ice Warrior transported the soldiers back to Mars and is helping them dig for treasure in the remains of the now extinct Ice Warrior civilisation. Of course things go awry…
Some obvious digs at colonialism and a by the numbers plot well executed.
The main squee moment being a late cameo by Ysanne Churchman as the eyeball-with-arms alien Alpha Centauri, from the classic “Peladon” stories from the third Doctor’s run. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0161489/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
Fun, but not great.
I assume others must have written on the use of doors as character motifs in Netflix’s Jessica Jones series but I feel I must add my five-cents* also. Not every character gets a signature door but most of the key characters do and each door seems loaded with significance. As some doors are connected to plot points and one only appears later in the series, spoilers are below the fold.
For those of us outside of the US, the Kinder Surprise egg is a familiar sight. A thin chocolate egg which encases a plastic capsule within which is a small toy. Often you have to assemble the toy and sometimes they are themed collectibles. The chocolate itself…well it’s is an acquired taste. Mass manufactured chocolate is one of those paradoxically regional things.
Americans have not had ready access to Kinder Surpises because of the dangers of them eating the encased toy accidentally. However, the more recent Kinder Joy egg has sidestepped the problem. It retains the egg shape but has two seperate halves – one with chocolate (sort of) in it and the other with a toy.
Wednesday I saw one in the wild and bought one and ate the bits you are supposed to eat. This is my story.
I opened the edible side first.
The two spheroids are crunchy chocolate and they sit in a kind of white & brown chocolate ganache.
The other half contains the toy.
It is a tiny paint set. For a horrified moment I thought it was meant to be make up but no, it is a Minnie Mouse paint set. Not much assembly – mainly sticking the Minnie Mouse sticker onto the strangely proportioned brush handle.
There was some red paint and some yellow paint. Deranged by my sugar high, I painted a demonic creature.
As good as a Kinder Surprise? Hmmm no. My favourite thing with a Kinder Surprise (and with toys that would dispense from those gobstopper machines) was the plastic capsule they came in.
The edible part was just weird.
The toy was initially disappointing but actually more cool than it looked. There was enough paint that I could have painted two demons. Three colours would have allowed greater artistic expression though.
Also if you are British don’t forget to vote.