Doctor Who: Oxygen

Well hello there to another one of my super quick and not very thought-through Doctor Who reviews! This one is for episode 5 of series 10 titled Oxygen. As always, be aware that this review includes Spoilers!

What was it about?

The Doctor gets a case of wanderlust and takes Bill to a dystopian space station where the crew is direly in need of some help.

My thoughts?

The formula of this episode seemed pretty standard, but by the end I was releasing a breath of relief, thinking “We are finally getting somewhere”, but more about that later. These past weeks have not been easy for me. I want to like Doctor Who as much as I used to, but it’s such a drag to watch it, because there’s simply nothing that excites me about it. No episode has truly emotionally touched me, and just to clarify, neither has this one. I remain of the opinion that Nardole has been utterly useless so far, even if he finally got a little more screen time than in previous episodes. I don’t even find him particularly funny, which is a shame, because I suppose that’s his role here. Bill‘s wonder at experiencing life with the Doctor for the first time is still fun, but it cannot save the plot. I am seriously just scraping by and trying to find things I appreciate, so here’s what I got for Oxygen:

  • I liked the constant double meaning of their remarks towards suits.
  • Bill’s mum obviously plays a bigger role and I am curious to find out what it is.
  • The show playing with the notion of racism again (as they previously did in Thin Ice).

I am not a person that gets excited about space zombies (unless we are talking Illuminae files or something like that), but I am interested in the vault, the reason for the Doctor having to stay on earth and most of all the Doctor turning blind. I know that he has a special awareness of the world around him, but I wonder how long he can keep up the ruse of pretending he can see. Will this be a permanent condition until his regeneration? It’s like the first time we don’t have an entirely able bodied Doctor and that’s an interesting representation that I am curious about.

That’s all I got for you today, except for my favourite quote of the week:

“The universe shows us its true self when it asks for help, we show ours by how we respond.”

I caught a glimpse of Missy for next week, so I am hoping that will bring some much needed urgency to the episode! What are your thoughts, folks? Did you enjoy Oxygen?

Doctor Who: Knock, Knock

I have not dropped off the face of the earth (yet), but there’s only T minus 9 days until my flight for Canada takes off … so, loads of things to do, tons of people to meet up beforehand with. Generally, what I am trying to say here is, that there are just so many things happening right now and blogging will inevitably take a backseat for the time being. But here I am, still reviewing Doctor Who‘s episode 4 of Season 10 called “Knock, Knock” only slightly delayed. Spoilers ahead!

What was it about?

Bill moves into a new house with some of her mates and the Doctor suspects there is something off with their new living quarters. It turns out there are some unexpected inhabitants in the wood that endanger the group.

My thoughts?

I am going to keep this rather short because I am a tad late and in a bit of a time scrunch. Generally, I thought the episode had a touch of creepiness, which I suppose they wanted to achieve, and it was decent. I don’t particularly like it when they make me associate things I usually love with gross aliens that could eat me. The scent of wood always reminds me of my grandpa and I get super freaked out by insects, so mixing those two and making them into a potentially lethal combo isn’t something I am going to immediately love. It didn’t remind me of a gazillion episodes I had seen before, which was good, but I also doubt it will be one that stays in my mind for a long time. There just wasn’t anything wow-ing me (which seems to be a reoccurring theme this season).

So, first things first, I thought the title of this episode might reminisce the knocking from the vault from Thin Ice … which it clearly didn’t but whatever. If a random, slightly unnerving old man came to me to ask me if I needed a place to live, I am not sure I would go with him. No less would I sign a contract without actually reading it beforehand. I really thought Bill was smarter than that, because it’s a brilliant idea to use the TARDIS to move all your stuff. Also, once more she was the one who had to point out the oh so obvious thing to the Doctor. It’s a shame when plot twists aren’t really that great of a twist and when it came to the landlord, I wasn’t really shocked about the truth of it all.

I am not sure how I felt about Bill being embarrassed (?) about the Doctor. I guess I can understand where the sentiment comes from since they all know him from uni and being friends with one of the professors is probably weird, but still … he’s the Doctor. You won’t be able to separate him from your regular life forever. However, I do love Bill learning about Timelords and regenerations. I really hope Bill is around for his regeneration. When companions have to go through that, it’s always so extraordinary to see how they react.

The vault is really one of the few things that manages to get my attention every time, although I can’t help but think that Nardole has been fairly unnecessary in the episodes so far. The Doctor put a piano in there and … I don’t know, but I am just going to be so disappointed if it isn’t John Simm’s Master in the vault. I already highly suspected it last week after all, but OF COURSE they didn’t reveal the identity of the person in there yet. There will probably be a two-episode arc at the very end of the season or something instead.

Final thought, I don’t know how I feel about the new Sonic Screwdriver yet. It looks like a plastic toy.

What are your thoughts? Are you liking the season?

Doctor Who: Thin Ice

I know, I’ve been pretty quiet this week, but I wouldn’t miss Doctor Who! Even though it has just been a cold, it has drained pretty much all of my energy and concentration, which is why I didn’t do more than the necessary these past days (hence no new posts and no reading). However, here is my review for episode 3 of series 10 called Thin Ice! Spoilers ahead!

What was it about?

The TARDIS traps the Doctor and Bill in London 1814 to save an extraterrestrial sea creature and some street urchins.

My thoughts?

So, I enjoyed Thin Ice more than Smile, but still did not love it. I think my biggest problem with the season so far is that I really don’t care about the episode plots. It just all feels like “seen it/done it before” and that’s no fun. Just think about it, “extraterrestrial creature gets trapped and the Doctor can’t make the decision for humanity on what to do about it, his companion has to make the tough call”. Haven’t you heard that before? Just to name some recent examples, I will give you Clara and the moon egg story in Kill the Moon, where she has to decide whether to kill the creature that is supposed to hatch from the egg or endanger humanity by letting it live and possibly destroy the moon. I mean, the Doctor almost gave 1:1 the same speech about serving humanity but not making their decisions for them. Or we have Amy and the space whale in The Beast Below, which comes even closer to this because of the nautical aspect of Thin Ice (whale – sea creature … you know?). The space whale was feeling lonely and he didn’t want to hurt anyone, so he didn’t when he was set free just like the creature in this episode didn’t go on to eat half of London. Also, I almost mentioned The Beast Below last week because it again was an episode with a human colonization in space … very similar to what was happening in Smile. I just keep having these constant flashbacks to things I have already seen in Moffat’s time as showrunner.

What I am trying to say here is that the episodes aren’t crafted in a bad way, but their content doesn’t feel original. They follow pretty typical Doctor-Who-standards and are fun to watch, but not if you can still remember almost every single episode from the past 12 years. I feel like I am being especially hard on this season because it’s Moffat’s final one and he didn’t give us any new Who in 2016 because he wanted to go out with a bang … so, I am waiting for that darn bang. And I can see it coming, I know that the vault story is holding something big! (Who else thought of the Master when they heard the knocking?) But until then they really need to step up their game with the weekly topics, because I adore Bill and her interactions with the Doctor. She keeps asking all the right questions and challenges the Doctor while also bringing out his softer side again. I think she’s good for him and she feels like such a natural addition to this world, like she was always meant to fit in. And Twelve said some beautiful, note-worthy and very quotable stuff.

“History is a white wash.”

“I am 2000 years old and I never had the time for the luxury of outrage.”

I loved his speech about being defined as a species by how much we cared for the unimportant people, how much we value those without privilege. The Doctor has never met anyone who wasn’t important, if I recall those words correctly from Eleven’s time, and that is how I like to go through life as well. He was also hilarious when he gave Bill that lecture about diplomacy winning over passion, but then he downright knocked the guy out who insulted her. The Bill-Doctor-relationship already feels very special and I so appreciate that. I want more of that!

So, next week has some House of Anubis vibes for me, but we will see what it holds in store. Maybe I will finally get an episode that doesn’t constantly remind of the past? Oh, but one final thing, a virtual jammie dodger for anyone who can tell me who Pete is!

What did you think of Thin Ice? Did you enjoy the episode? Any and all thoughts are welcome!

Doctor Who: Smile

This is actually happening! My weekly reviews of Doctor Who are back! I am not sure how long I can keep this up, with my Canada trip just around the corner and all, but I will do them while I still can. As I did in the past, I will review all episodes right after having watched them, so you get almost like a real time feed of my thoughts (which are subject to change). Today is all about episode 2 of Season 10 Smile and be aware that this is filled with Spoilers!

What was it about?

The Doctor takes Bill on her first adventure to the future, where they immediately run into misguided emojibots which endanger the last hope for human civilization.

My thoughts?

Unfortunately, I have to say that I wasn’t particularly impressed by this episode. It’s absolutely not that it was badly executed or that the message was a bad one. After all these years, the first thing humanity resorts to is apparently still weapons. Do we not learn? Do we not appreciate other cultures and creatures? Why can we never accept indigenous people? Why do we have this need to colonize everything and make it fit us? All valid topics for an episode, but the way it was done was literally something I’ve seen countless times on the show already.

Here are a few examples of what I meant by “I have seen this before”- We have the misunderstood lifeform that actually wants to help people which faintly reminded me of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (people getting uploaded in the libarary to be save) and The Girl Who Waited (letting people live out their days in kindness chambers … I mean the robots even kind of remind me of each other …), just that the Vardis actually killed the inhabitants here.

Then we have the age old question, who is actually entitled to the place? Who was there first? Who is allowed to live there? The whole “having to negotiate between humans and race XY” was only recently done in the Zygon Inversion and a while back in the Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. Just that this time it was solved super easily by resetting and wiping the robots memories. Which, by the way, was a different circumstance but nonetheless criticized just last week.

There are a couple things I do like. I quite enjoy how naturally Bill fits into the show, how funny she is and how incredibly smart. I mean, sometimes, I don’t really get her thought process. She questions things that have been unsaid for years and years of this show’s existence, but then she cannot possibly imagine what is in the pods of the human spaceship they built to find a place they could colonize? Weird in my eyes, but nothing too distracting. Bill is amazing and that’s all I need to know for now. She discovers the Doctor and his personality all anew. I love watching that realisation click in a companions eyes when they just know that the Doctor would never leave anyone behind or simply not help. She’s like a gust of fresh air again. Also, does she already have a catch phrase of sorts by saying “like a penguin with his arse on fire” whenever she sees the Doctor run now?

I am also happy about the fact that the vault-scenario is not being forgotten. I am assuming this will the story arc of this season and I sincerely hope that we will also figure out how Nardole (who was delighfully unamused at Bill’s presence in the TARDIS) will figure into all of this.

The way into next episode has already been provided at the end of Smile. The dynamic of that season is pretty interesting so far and I think it’s a decent formula to let Bill see the future and then the past in the next one. Regency England here we come!

What did you think of Smile? How are you liking the season?

Doctor Who: The Pilot

So, I haven’t done any Whovian review in a very long time. First, there were no episodes of Doctor Who in 2016, except for the Christmas Special (which I honestly just found very boring) and second, my enthusiasm has run on an all time low recently. I adored Clara, but I knew that her time had come to an end and I was glad about the way she left the show … but … Capaldi just really isn’t my particular Doctor. I know there are people who love him and that’s great, but I am not one of them. Without Clara by his side, I was worried … but Bill’s character sounded so promising and this was Capaldi’s final run. I just had to do a review for the Season 10 premiere again. I probably even would have had it up on my usual schedule (which is right after it airs in the UK), but my laptop and wifi weren’t really compliant yesterday. Anyway, beware of Spoilers ahead!

What was it about?

The Doctor is under disguise as a professor at some university when Bill Potts, a cafeteria employee, catches his attention. He decides to become her private tutor, not knowing that there is already a space-water-creature following and trying to catch her. A chase through time and space ensues.

My thoughts?

I liked how this episode started out really slow and quiet. Bill is such a strong character from the way she acts to the way she talks, that giving her an action sequence to begin with, would have been too much in my opinion. Instead, we see the Doctor’s office, Nardole (from the 2015 Christmas Special), the TARDIS in the corner and lovely pictures of River and Susan (yes, sometimes even I recognise old Who stuff) on Twelve’s desk. So you get eased into this new setting with a lot of reminders of the past, that’s always a good way to go when you establish the new Doctor/companion dynamic.

With Clara there were hints at her being bisexual, but it was never explicitly said. Now with Bill we have the first openly gay companion (if you discount Captain Jack? I guess he was never a full companion …) and she has two crushes in the first episode. Now this is where things got a little over the top for me. Heather was actual brilliant, stoic, water-creepiness and I get the whole “last conscious thought” thing that kept her tethered to Bill, but since we didn’t get all that much interaction between the two, I wasn’t that emotionally invested in the end. I know that Bill having to let her go was supposed to be really heartbreaking, but  somehow I just didn’t feel that much with them. Even the Doctor remarked, she was “only” a crush. Not to underestimate a crush … but you know, there was no time to actually get attached to anyone yet.

I think it’s funny how different Bill thinks to regular companions. Sometimes she notices things others never did (like why TARDIS was actually English) and then she takes much longer to get other stuff (they got there in the end with the “It’s bigger on the inside”), but she really has a knack for ruining those violin-playing moments sometimes. I hope they don’t play on that too much in the upcoming season. All in all, I really enjoyed her first episode though and I am looking forward to where we are going with her.

There were a couple of moments that really touched me. For one, the moment they started playing Joy Division‘s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” because it gives me flashbacks to 13 Reasons Why, but on a more serious note, it was so lovely when Bill discovered that the Doctor took photos of her mother so she would have a reminder of her. Bill said that having a picture of someone, even if you don’t remember knowing them, matters and I didn’t realise it in that moment, but I think it reminded the Doctor of Clara and the fact that he doesn’t even know how she looks like. That really got to me. Just like the scene when he was about to wipe Bill’s memory and she scolded him by asking how he would feel if someone did that to him. Oh boy, when they started playing Clara’s theme song in the background, I almost teared up. As you’ve noticed by now, I saw a lot of residual Clara in this episode and I am immensely happy about that. I think I feared that since he couldn’t remember about her, that chapter would just be done with, but it’s those little things that keep her alive still.

Before I wrap this up, I just want to ask my American readers to please, please, please tune in to Class, which airs on BBC America right after Doctor Who. I ADORE this show and I need a second season, but apparently the BBC is still waiting on the American ratings before they decide on the renewal of the show. We deserve another season and I really NEED it. I am going to do a #CurrentlyWatching post for it this upcoming Friday to make sure everyone knows how awesome the show is, so stay on the lookout for that for sure!

How did you like the Season 10 premiere? What are your thoughts on Bill?

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2015: The Husbands of River Song

Series 9 of Doctor Who has reignited my love for the show! The Husbands of River Song was just the perfect ending for this whovian year and now the wait for the next series begins. But let’s talk about what happened last night!

husbands

What was it about?

The Doctor finds himself being called to help with a surgery on a crashed space ship, not knowing that River Song is behind the scheme. She wants the Doctor to detach the head of her husband, King Hydroflax, because it currently has a very valuable diamond stuck in it. Consequently they get into a lot of trouble, all the while River doesn’t even realise that the Doctor is her actual Doctor. They manage to survive and the episode ends with them spending their last night together.

My thoughts?

I am in love with the episode! I did not care about King Hydroflax or the Cyberman-hybrid body. I didn’t even care about all the different guest stars and aliens that appeared, which were pretty cool sometimes. All I really paid attention to were Twelve and River! It was such a fun and quirky yet also bittersweet episode and I filled a whole document with the hilarious quotes of the two of them. I think it was a great choice to not make River realise that he is her Doctor, because it gave so much more room for exploration of their relationship.
The Doctor got to play the person who see the inside of a TARDIS for the first time and he really can prod River’s thoughts on her feelings about him, without her knowing who he is. I loved how you could see the worry in his face, Twelve questioning what if anything in their relationship was ever real. But then there was the highlight, River expressing her love for him and it was so beautiful. I think the episode and their first encounter didn’t exactly go down as many have thought it would, but Twelve and River had some great chemistry and I think it was a really memorable part of their relationship together.

By the end, it seems that River’s story has now come full circle. I think that in a way, the whole story with Clara taught him that he couldn’t drag it out forever. It may have been a little cheesy, but since they are now at last at the Singing Towers of Darillium, I am happy that a night there is 24 years long. For once, they get to be together just like that. The “And they lived happily ever after” at the end was a little unnecessary in my opinion, but then again, River explained that “happily ever after” doesn’t mean forever, it just means time.

At last, I am happy that even the Doctor mentioned how ridiculous a Sonic Trowel is, but at least now we know how River got her Sonic Screwdriver!

Now the waiting begins! Who will be the new companion? When will the show return? Will Series 10 be Capaldi‘s last season? Nothing but questions but hopefully the next year will bring all the answers!

Doctor Who: Hell Bent

What a loaded Season 9 Finale of Doctor Who! Hell Bent definitely wasn’t the way I thought it would be, but with this show surprises can definitely be something good. Spoilers are coming your way!

hell bent

What was it about?

The Doctor uses his status as a war hero on Gallifrey to get back his beloved Clara. He is willing to tear apart time itself apparently, but his realisation about the hybrid and his best friend leads with them having to part ways anyways. 

My thoughts?

I know I say this almost every week, but I seriously don’t know where to start! I enjoyed last week (although not as much as some of you guys), but I definitely didn’t see this continuation of Heaven Sent coming! At the same time, this is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t think that Clara deserved such a short and uneventful death like the one in Face the Raven. She was and still is important to me and I wanted her to get a spectacular exit – Hell Bent gave her that and so much more! In the end she became what she was heading towards the entire time – immortal, running away with a TARDIS and possibly even her very own companion – basically the Doctor. I am sure that many won’t agree, but to me, that was really the perfect ending for her. And like with River, there is a slight possibility of Clara and the Doctor crossing paths again. I LOVE IT!

I think what got to me the most though, was that this was almost like a reversed Donna-scenario. When I realised that Twelve didn’t recognise Clara, I was heartbroken for her! Imagine your best friend not knowing who you are anymore … it’s really quite sad, especially since he was so convinced that he would recognise her. In the past I’ve complained about the excessive use of Twelve and his electric guitar, but wow, I am so glad he played Clara’s theme, that put some more cracks into my heart. Anyway, I am still wondering what exactly Clara told the Doctor in the Cloisters …

We haven’t had an episode on Gallifrey for a long time and they didn’t shy away from including some popular monsters as well. I almost wish they’d made it more Gallifreyian centered though, because it’s such a great setting for all kind of stories. However, aside from that I loved seeing all the other Time Lords and Ladies and how they idolise and fear the Doctor. Then again, I couldn’t believe some of the changes he had went through in those 4.5 billion years (still can’t believe it was that long!). He wasn’t really the Doctor anymore, I mean for crying out loud, he shot someone (even if he knew that he still had a regeneration left). It’s kind of frightening to think what all the Doctor would do for Clara. Which brings me to my next point!

The hybrid was Clara and the Doctor in the end? Did I get that correctly? Was that what was happening? Because after the last episode it was pointed out to me that “me” could have been the Doctor or Ashildr, which I was apparently way too tired to really notice. Many would have liked to see Ashildr become the Doctor’s new companion (I wasn’t one of them), but she ruined her chances of that. However, it was fitting that they met at the end of time and I am  now sort of hoping that she’s Clara’s new travel companion, taking the long route to Gallifrey.

Now, last but not least – THE SONIC SCREWDRIVER IS BACK! And it’s a glorious and fantastic looking one that I would love to add to my own collection!

I am sure I once again missed a ton of references to pre-2005 Whovian episodes, so if you wish to share some of your observations in the comments, be my guest! Also, sorry if I went on a tangent every now and then … it’s late. Other than that, I can only finish with being really excited for the Christmas Special. River was always one of my favourite characters!