Archive for June 2015

The Depths of ‘Deep Breath’   Leave a comment

I finally finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, my re-watch of Capaldi’s proper introduction. I had slightly more negative thoughts about this pass after the first half; the second, however, has some wonderful stuff in it, and not just the many references which I will get to below. Matt Smith’s proper goodbye is a wonderful scene. The Twelfth Doctor is at his best in quiet philosophical moments. (It’s up close he finds things beautiful, he tells the clockwork droid. Everything is so big, so important.) And of course we get introduced to Missy.

(A quick aside – In the restaurant, the Doctor notes that the kind of person who would place the ad that got them both there is “an egomaniac needy game-player.” Clara assumes at first that he is referring to himself, then belatedly realizes he was talking about her. Except that he wasn’t; he was talking about the ad, and his assessment describes someone – the actual someone who placed the ad – very well. No one is more egomaniacal, no one needs the Doctor more, and no one enjoys games so well as the Master.)

And now, on to the fun!

1. From the very start, we have the dinosaur. The Doctor encountered dinosaurs in London once before, in the Third Doctor story ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs.’ There’s even a picture of one with Parliament in the background: old and new.

2. Vastra hasn’t seen anything like it “since I was a little girl.” Her people predate humanity on Earth and supposedly shared the planet with dinosaurs. The ones the Doctor encountered in ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’ employed dinosaurs as a defensive measure against intruding humans from above. There may be a further reference in Vastra’s conversation with Jenny about the creature’s size; if so, I haven’t found it, and it may simply be an inside joke about the inability of effects people to know when to stop.

3. The policeman who summons the Paternoster Gang to the scene is Inspector Gregson, a character from the Sherlock Holmes canon.

4. When the Doctor sees Strax, he names five of Snow White’s seven dwarves, finally settling on Grumpy.

5. “Names, not my area,” he claims when he can’t identify Clara – Sherlock’s (BBC) favorite excuse. He finally settles on (6.) Handles, his Cyberman-head companion from ‘The Time of the Doctor.’

7. “I speak dinosaur.” The Eleventh Doctor claims “I speak baby,” (Closing Time) and “I speak horse,” (‘A Town Called Mercy’).

8. “Here we go again.” As the Doctor passes out from regeneration sickness, Vastra quotes Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (‘Planet of the Spiders’).

9. “I brought you along by accident,” the Doctor tells the dinosaur. “That’s mostly how I meet girls.” It does seem to be his MO.

10. “She was scared,” the Doctor protests at the death of the dinosaur, much as the Ninth Doctor protested UNIT’s killing of the pig alien in ‘Aliens of London.’

11. “The Doctor has taken up the case,” says Vastra, another reference to Sherlock Holmes.

12. Clara’s shawl, as she calls down to Strax from an upstairs window, looks very much like the Seventh Doctor’s scarf.

13. Jenny mentions the “Paternoster Irregulars,” a reference to Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars. (14.) The two cases she says Vastra is working – Conk-Singleton and Camberwell – are also both Holmes’ cases.

15. Strax sees “a lot of muscular young men doing sport” in Clara’s subconscious. Is this a reference to slash fic?

16. The tramp the Doctor encounters in the alley is played by Brian Miller, husband of the late Lis Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith.

17. “I need clothes, that’s what I need,” says the Doctor. “And a big, long scarf. No, no, move on from that. Looked stupid.”

18. “Have you seen this face before?” he asks the tramp. “That’s funny, because I’m sure that I have.” He did, in ‘Fires of Pompeii.’

19. “[My eyebrows] probably want to cede from the rest of my face and set up their own independent state of eyebrows.” Much as Scotland was considering at the time?

20. The murder board Vastra is contemplating is a detective series staple, and may have originated (once again) with Sherlock Holmes. (21.) “The game is afoot,” she says, as if to confirm it.

22. However, the paper reveals nothing. “Not even in the agony column,” she says, a favorite message board of the famous detective.

23. The Doctor refers to the restaurant as “Sweeney Todd without the pies.”

24. “I miss Amy,” the Doctor complains, when Clara – ten inches shorter than her predecessor – can’t reach the fallen sonic with her foot.

25. “Burke and Hare from space,” says Clara, referring to a pair of 19th century Scottish murderers who sold the resulting corpses for medical research.

26. “Droids harvesting spare parts,” says the Doctor. “That rings a bell.” It should – he encountered them in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace.’

27. “Captain, my Captain,” he says to the droid. The famous Whitman poem is about a dead leader.

28. There are several references to “spare parts” in the scene – the name of a Big Finish story about Cybermen.

29. “I’ve seen this before,” says the Doctor as the droids come to life – and he has.

30. “Sorry, too slow,” he tells Clara as the door closes, trapping her inside – as Rose was trapped with the Dalek. “Sorry I was a bit slow,” Rose said to Nine. (There is another occurence of the line somewhere – I’ll add it when I think of it.)

31. Of course the word that Vastra and Clara agreed on to summon a rescue is the Eleventh Doctor’s “Geronimo!”

32. “Fifty-first century, right?” says the Doctor. Many of Moffat’s playthings – the SS Madame de Pompadour, Jack Harkness, River Song – come from the 51st century.

33. “Trying to get home the long way round,” he says of the droids – as the Eleventh Doctor said of himself in ‘Day of the Doctor.’ Similar music is even playing.

34. The droids’ ship’s fuses are labeled “SS Marie Antoinette: Sister ship of the SS Madame de Pompadour” – directly referencing the ship from ‘The Girl in the Fireplace.’

35. The Doctor, trying to stimulate his memory of patching a spaceship with human remains, holds a bunch of yellow roses to his nose. The Tenth Doctor once described Rose as “all pink and yellow” (‘New Earth’). Failing to recall anything, he tosses the flowers aside, symbolically completing the past and the RTD era.

36. “Droids and apostrophes, I could write a book.” The inability of cyborgs and androids to use contractions is a sci fi trope – Star Trek‘s Data is famous for it.

37. “One of us is lying about our basic programming.” Or both. The clockwork droids in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ shut themselves down once they saw the futility of their mission. And the Doctor – nor any Time Lord – is not incapable of murder.

38. “You’ve redecorated,” says Clara, in the spirit of the Second Doctor and many since. “I don’t like it.”

39. “I think there should be more round things,” says the Doctor, referring both to the original TARDIS interior and to Ten and Eleven’s conversation in ‘Day of the Doctor:’

Eleven: Hey look, the round things!
Ten: I love the round things!
Eleven: What are the round things?
Ten: No idea.

40. “I’m so, so sorry,” says Clara, echoing the Tenth Doctor’s (second) most famous line.

41. “Do you want to go and get coffee, or chips, or something?” Nine and Rose concluded their first real adventure with chips. Clara, being a bit more grown up, chooses coffee.

42. Missy‘s costume strongly resembles Mary Poppins‘.

And with that we have a Hitchhiker’s Guid to the Galaxy reference – and an S3 reference – in 42! I suspect, however, that I missed at least a few. Moffat is nothing if not a fanboy, very JNT in his love of layering. It’s one of a very few things we have in common.

ETA 6/30/15

Never mind that ’42’ reference…

43. Trying to take Clara home, the Doctor lands in Glasgow by mistake – as he landed Sarah Jane in Aberdeen.

ETA 7/1/15

44. How many Doctors have begun their adventures in their sleepwear? The Third and Fourth Doctors both started in nightshirts – once divested of their predecessors’ garments by medical staff – and the Tenth Doctor spent most of ‘The Christmas Invasion’ in someone else’s pajamas.


Posted June 27, 2015 by Elisabeth in Season 8, The Great Re-Watch

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Pedalpalooza 2015: Time Travelers’ Ride   Leave a comment

For the uninitiated, Pedalpalooza is a loosely organized period of bike fun that takes place each June in Portland, Oregon. Group rides of all types take place each day for 3+ weeks: Kilted Ride, Urban Art Ride, Solstice Ride, to name but a few. For the last 5 years we have participated in the Time Travelers’ Ride, formerly known as the Doctor Who Ride, and this year was no different.

As promised, a few photos:



It was 95 degrees yesterday evening, so hardly anyone was in costume. The Dalek dress, however, was just the thing. With some creative use of kitchen implements, my bike and I became an exterminating machine.

Traveling through Time Portals

Traveling through Time Portals

Taking over the TARDIS

Taking over the TARDIS

The TARDIS is actually a free library set up in someone’s parking strip.

The ride finished up at the Pub at the End of the Universe, which had lovely outdoor seating and also beer. There was no trivia this year – it was not a DW exclusive event, and also I think they were tired of me winning – so we got to hang out with the trivia master instead, which was really more fun. As always, everyone had a great time.

Nerdery plus bikes equals win!

Posted June 26, 2015 by Elisabeth in Cosplay, Events

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Deep Breath again   Leave a comment

Last night I began my rewatch of S8, with the intention of noting all the references and callbacks in the initial episode. I had a lot of streaming difficulties, software and hardware, so I wasn’t as attentive as I might have been otherwise, and only got about halfway through before giving up. The post on references will have to wait.

However I did make one other observation about the episode: it’s much better meta than it is actual story.

Fortunately I love meta. I love the references and the inside jokes. I understand Moffat’s desire to address fan complaints regarding Capaldi’s age and the whole flirting thing, even if I don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary. I love that Jenna Coleman finally gets something interesting to do. But without that context, the story is a little thin. The Paternoster gang’s sonic devices, designed by Blue Peter fans, are not well incorporated into the story. Unlike previous winners – the makeshift TARDIS console featured in ‘The Doctor’s Wife,’ the child Creet from ‘Utopia’ and ‘The Sound of Drums,’ and the Absorbaloff from ‘Love and Monsters,’ which fit perfectly into their respective stories – these feel forced, used once with questionable motivation and never mentioned again. Vastra and Clara’s conversation about the Doctor’s appearance is awkward – why would either of them take it so seriously? – and Clara’s reaction to the regeneration, especially given that she’s aware of this particular physiological quirk, seems out of proportion. I get that she’s scared, but why is she so angry?

Other, season-long problems come to light in this episode. The Doctor’s apparent face-blindness – his inability to distinguish Clara from Strax – could have been interesting, had it not devolved into his insulting Clara – and only Clara – almost every episode. His frantic chalk-writing on the bedroom floor, and his questions about his own face, are intriguing and never lead anywhere. Rewatching the episode after having seen the rest of the season, I’m much more aware of its unfulfilled potential.

Still, it’s a lot of fun. I adore Capaldi’s Doctor. I love emotive Clara. I enjoy the heck out of all the meta stuff. The episode is a Doylist gold mine; in 35 minutes I filled two pages with notes, and I still have still have more than half the episode to go!

I look forward to it, and the rest of the season as well.

Posted June 25, 2015 by Elisabeth in Season 8, The Great Re-Watch

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The Doctor’s companion   Leave a comment

Having just finished Eleven’s run, I’m clear that in spite of Clara, Amy was his best and closest friend. In much the same way as both Nine and Ten gave their hearts to Rose, Eleven’s to the end belonged to Amy. Nor are they the only ones; each Doctor seems to have his special companion, no matter how many others he may travel with.

The First Doctor of course has Susan. Though his granddaughter stayed with him for just a little over one season, there’s no doubting that she was special to him.

The Second Doctor’s can only be Jamie. Appearing in his second story, the ebullient Scot remained by his Doctor’s side until the bitter end. While others came and went, Jamie always stayed.

The Third Doctor’s special friend was Jo. Brilliant Liz and independent Sarah had little patience for the grandiose, show-off Doctor, but Jo adored every minute of him, and offered her life for him on more than one occasion.

The Fourth Doctor may be an exception. He lasted longer and traveled with more friends than any other, and he may instead have two that were special to him. Sarah Jane obviously remained in his hearts all the way to his tenth incarnation, but his partnership with Romana was likely the closest and most equal of any in all his lives.

The Fifth Doctor seemed to share affection equally among his friends, but I suspect he had a soft spot for Nyssa. Young but not a child, she nearly matched him in intelligence and compassion, and their friendship avoided the prickliness of his relationship with Tegan or Turlough or even Adric.

The Sixth Doctor had Peri. The Seventh Doctor had Ace. The Eighth Doctor on screen had only Grace, though he may have bonded more completely with one of his audio companions. Big Finish fans would know better, but I believe he declared his love for Charley Pollard before the end.

Nine and Ten were one and the same more than any other pair of regenerations, and the tie that bound them was Rose. From the moment he took her hand in the basement of Henrik’s, to his last goodbye on January 1, 2005, he was Rose’s Doctor to the core.

Eleven had Amy; Twelve has Clara. Whomever he may travel with in the future, she will hold a special place in his heart.

Posted June 20, 2015 by Elisabeth in Companions

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Twelfth Night   Leave a comment

‘The Time of the Doctor’ could have been so many things.

Instead, it’s mostly terrible. I spent most of the first half resisting the off button. I hate the nudity gag; the sexual banter with Tasha Lem; the voiceover. I don’t like the fatality of the Trenzalore storyline. I don’t get stealth Daleks. I don’t buy a single character’s motivation: why would Clara consider Christmas dinner an emergency? why would all the Doctor’s enemies be called to battle by a message? why would the Time Lords ask the Doctor’s name? None of it makes any sense.

I get that Moffat’s trying to tie up all his little strings. A whole series late he finally justifies his S6 arc – silence will fall. He offers motivation for Madame Kevorian, and a purpose for the Silence – one that contradicts their original storyline, but never mind. He even brings Amy’s crack – sorry, can’t help it – all the way back from Eleven’s very first story. Such a self-referential mess might be justified if the showrunner were on his way out; instead, he’s still here a year and a half later, no end in sight.

The episode has a single saving grace: Amelia Pond.

There were plenty of episodes in her run I didn’t like, and there were even times I didn’t like her all that much. But when little Amelia runs through the TARDIS, all that fades away, leaving behind the Doctor’s eternal affection. Amy gives her friend a perfect sendoff, the perfect bookend to his era. The first face this face saw, and his last goodbye. Never mind that they’re both wearing wigs: it’s a gorgeous moment, full of the best this show can be.

As in the Ponds’ final episode, the last minute nearly salvages the rest – but not quite.

Fortunately, we now have S8.

Anglicon ‘rules’   Leave a comment

I spent the whole weekend there and never realized how funny this sign was:

Anglicon Terms and Conditions


Posted June 17, 2015 by Elisabeth in Conventions, Cool Stuff

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Third Doctor photo fun   Leave a comment

"I'm the Doctor!"

“Science and Aikido!”

"Reverse the bloody polarity, mate!"

“Reverse the bloody polarity, mate!”

Neither of these is Jon Pertwee… but either would do nicely, don’t you think?

Posted June 16, 2015 by Elisabeth in Piffle

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