Archive for the ‘Bill Potts’ Tag

The Pyramid and the Lie   Leave a comment

The two make an intriguing pair: the low and the high of the season so far. “Pyramid” suffers from that variety of plausibility problem that Peter Harness is about to become known for. Eggs that gain mass as they grow? Spidery single-celled organisms? Biological laboratories with timed ventilation that can’t be turned off? Not to mention obscure Middle Eastern/near Asian locales not remotely real enough to believe in.

(It’s the same country, Turmezistan, that Harness created for “The Zygon Invasion.” It doesn’t work any better here.)

I did enjoy the setup, the end of the world already in motion. I really liked the scientist Erica. As Whithouse did in “Under the Lake,” here Moffat/Harness introduce a character who is different – and whose difference has zero impact on their competence or their humanity. I wish Erica had returned in “Lie.”

However I had serious questions about the resolution of this episode. The Doctor unable to cure himself is already a stretch. The combination lock with no tactile element pushes things further. But the lack of a video component in the sonic sunglasses takes things right over the edge. There is no way he can’t transmit an image of that lock to Bill’s phone. There is no reason a) the lab should vent to the outside under any circumstances whatsoever, b) the Doctor should be unable to get himself out of this particular mess, or c) Bill should decide that giving over to the Monks is the best option. I like that Pearl gets to stretch emotionally here, but I wish she had better motivation.

(My husband points out that like his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor can do anything – as long as it’s plot-convenient. Otherwise he suddenly can’t.)

And then Toby Whithouse returns, with one of his strongest episodes and definitely one of the strongest of this season so far. Post-Brexit, post-Trump, so full of fake news and fake history it’s hard for even the toughest to resist. The Monks’ world is beautifully depicted. The turncoat Doctor so close to believable, it’s no wonder Bill loses her faith. And there’s nothing better than imaginary Mum saving the day. I loved it. I start to wish that Whithouse instead of Chibnall were taking over next year. His stories just keep getting better.

Mark Gatiss’ episode next week looks simply delightful. “The Empress of Mars” brings to mind classic Edgar Rice Burroughs, Empress of the Racnoss, Kage Baker. The Empress herself may be the first female Ice Warrior we’ve seen. I look forward to meeting her.

About Time   Leave a comment

How has it taken me so long to write about Season 10? Life intervened, as it does at times, interfering with anticipation and delight, as well as writing time. But as a third of the series passes and dust begins to settle, I can finally put my thoughts to words.

The Story So Far:

Bill! Her appearance, much like Rose’s in many ways, is magic. I like when the Doctor finds brilliance in unlooked for places: the “dinner lady,” the non-student who surreptitiously attends every lecture she can. I like her quirky turn of thought and phrase, and her imaginative relationship with her mother. I worry for her courage. She runs for the Doctor when things get weird, pushes him away rather than look bad before her mates, chooses – or would choose, if the Doctor gave choices – to return to the TARDIS rather than search for survivors in a station full of zombie space suits. I don’t begrudge her fearfulness – who among us wouldn’t share it? – but most companions have by their fourth story saved the Doctor at least twice.

She does, however, show appropriate wonder and excitement at visiting new worlds, and she asks interesting questions. I appreciate that.

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The Doctor: I like the parallels to with Reg/Chronotis, the sometime Time Lord from “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” or possibly “Shada.” The Doctor with an office is a fun first. His choice of job – lecturing on whatever he feels like – seems entirely appropriate, and his choice of Bill seems like the end of a long enjoyable-but-dull streak in his life. It seems he may have been collecting dust, and now he’s ready to shake it off again.

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I’m not sure about the thing in the vault as a season arc. Moffat is so much less successful with these than he’d like to be.

Alien companion Nardole is a mixed bag. He was funny in “The Pilot” but since has shown an annoying tendency to nag. The gentle prodding he employed in “Dr. Mysterio” has given way to full-on shrew. I hope he reverts soon.

The settings have been delightful. The writing has been great. We’ve been to past, present, and future, visited alien worlds and the edge of town. The season so far may lack the fireworks of Season 9, but it’s good fun Doctor Who and I’m ready for more.

Next week: the return of Missy!

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Posted May 19, 2017 by Elisabeth in Season 10

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