I’m in Kansas City this week on a vacation that’s a side effect of my wife’s serious operation back in Feb. As she couldn’t go on the trip with her sister as planned and had to use up our voucher miles before Sept or lose them she suggested finding somewhere that the RedSox were playing and go see them there. This is the first time since I started writing that I’ve been somewhere without the express purpose to cover some political event or conference. The only work I’ll be doing are this week’s posts and perhaps the odd interview if one drops into my lap. It is so weird to wake up somewhere else without having to be somewhere or to have 30 or 50 interviews to upload. Of course given that the Room AC is not working properly and I spent two hours on twitter and on the phone between priceline and the sheraton four points people and their parent company trying to resolve it due to my wife’s breathing issues it’s even weirder. It seems the final plan was to keep her awake all night trying to get things fixed till she was too tired to not fall asleep even with no AC in the summer heat and the noise of the rather loud fan they provided. I presume that plan worked because while I stopped tweeting on it at 1:30 AM and fell asleep soon after, as of this writing (9:30 am central) she and my son are still out like lights so I don’t know when they finally gave up and crashed. Even odder the room isn’t oppressively hot as it was when I dropped off so I guess at least for a brief time during the night the AC kicked in and combined with the rather loud fan managed to drop the temp to an OK level, but then again I grew up without AC and never had breathing issues and can sleep on a wooden pallet with a piece of cardboard on it so the real test will be how DaWife feels when she wakes up. The last gave of the series is a 1:05 start so I’d like to get her up early so we can get a spot of breakfast but as I don’t know when she got to sleep I think I’ll let her sleep as late as we safely can.

Now I know why my parents never went on vacations.

Kaufman Stadium is a lovely place to watch a baseball game but as in Denver it’s still very odd to go to a ball park and: Not see it full, See promotion after promotion during the game, see the necessity for the scoreboard to be used to get the crowd to make noise. But that’s the difference between practically selling out an entire season and having to draw people. Our three tickets for the first game at Kaufman stadium in the upper deck of left field cost what it would have set us back for Standing room in Fenway park…for one of us.

This is my first trip to the midwest and there is a real sense of Deja vu in coming to a place like this. I’m reminded of the days of my youth when Massachusetts was populated by normal people with normal values and not run by frenzied leftists. If I was younger I’d leave for a place like this in a second as the liberal New England in general and Massachusetts in particular is no place to raise a family if you don’t want to have to fight every day to raise your children as Faithful Catholics or Christians of any stripe. You can’t imagine how much I miss those days, it’s also the reason why there are so many Red Sox Fans everywhere else. People might leave the craziness of New England but one’s love of the Red Sox comes with you.

The Death of Otto Warmbier is to some degree a surprise. One might think that to North Korea an American foolish enough to put themselves willingly in their hands is an asset to exploit so normally one might think that any torture would be designed to be painful but not fatal however it’s a vivid reminder that with the Norks you are dealing with one of the worst regimes in the history of history and unless your a Christian Missionary ready to become a Christian Martyr giving your life in the hopes of saving souls, it’s not a place to willingly put yourself.

The left’s pious insults concerning Mr. Warmbier’s death and their previous statements concerning “white privilege” come as no surprise as sadly I’ve come to expect no better from them, the real question is what kind of retaliation will we see from this president. What price will the Norks be made to pay and how will he pull it off without setting and can he afford to be patient in making them pay that price.

Yet another special election (actually two as there was one in SC as well that the Democrats decided to concede rather than sink a fortune in) is now over and Karen Handel despite being an unexciting candidate managed a five point win despite millions of dollars from the bluest states there pouring into the state to defeat her. I think this from Hotair is telling:

 

11:10 pm: Finally, here is Karen Handel’s victory speech. At 2:30 Handel thanks President Trump and the crowd responds “Trump! Trump! Trump!” At 3:15 she thanks Steve Scalise and spends a moment talking about the need to find “a more civil way” to disagree. “In these United States of America, no one should ever feel their life threatened over political beliefs and positions,”

 

I think that while the DC shooter managed to only wound Steve scalise, he managed to kill Democrat chances to win in GA06 as voters in that district who might have stayed home decided they didn’t want to reward attempted murder. Of course this doesn’t change the fact that the GOP needs to get moving on their agenda as Chris Muir seems to have pegged.

The attack by Mr. Osborne in London was, in my opinion one of the most predictable crimes in the history of history in terms of simple mathematical statistics. Given that we’ve had over 31,000 Islamic Terror attacks worldwide since 9/11 (40 attacks in 15 countries from June 10th though the 16th alone) sooner or later probability stated that you would actually get a westiner targeting Muslims. I have no problem calling what he did terror, but I insist that leftists who do so do the same concerning every other attack done by Muslims in the name of Islam. The real question is will the same people willing to throw collective guilt on Englishmen over this attack respond in a similar way to what happened in Brussels yesterday?

It also plays into one of the things I’ve predicted, the longer both the authorities in power and moderate muslims decide to deny and ignore the danger of radical islam, the more likely you’ll see people like Osborne decide to, in his mind, strike back. I expect to see many more like him if the state of denial continues. This of course does not justify his acts of murder which not only need to be vigorously prosecuted but punished to the fullest extent of the law.

A little Doctor Who, I see that Big Finish has decided to give a series to Derick Jacobi playing the “War Master”. Jacobi’s time as the Master on screen lasted less that 15 minutes before he regenerated into John Simm but during that time he ruled the screen. I’ve often wondered what he would have done with the role if he had been given more time. Now we’ll find out.

Finally we are going to be seeing the first Multi-master story in Doctor who outside of Big Finish My bet is that Michelle Gomez Master is killed by John Simm’s master with her at the moment of death remembering doing so. Even if I’m wrong the word is she will not be returning to the role. While I wasn’t a fan of the whole gender bender business Gomez made the part her own and has simply owned every scene she has been in in a way we haven’t seen since Alex Kingston. Doctor Who fans will miss her.

Update:  Dropped a “r” from Otto Warmbier’s name, corrected

Summary: OK Who’s gonna die to save the world from the Monks, The Doctor or Bill?

Plot: the Monks now rule the earth, and apparently have been with humanity from day one, or so everyone believes, but Bill and Nardole and the Doctor (with some help from Missy) find that there is a way to break this hold they have on humanity, but when the Doctor Bill and their band of Brothers plan fails, it looks like it will require someone to pay a fatal price, so who is going to pay it and free humanity? Or perhaps as the Doctor suggests it might be better to leave well enough alone.

———————————–

Writing: With the exception of the final resolution, which I think was weak, there is plenty of stuff to love here and a lot of guessing. I like the Doctor building a team, Nardole proving himself to Bill, the Whole, I gave you a chance bit are all very good, but the real star of the episode are the scenes with Missy which are so far above everything else that almost the entire episode that one might think it was all written specifically for that exchange.

Acting: In terms of acting this is Pearl’s Mackie’s best episode and to some degree Capaldi’s worst (he seems to be overacting a bit to me) Matt Lucas’ Nardole remains excellent but all of it is completely overshadowed by the performance of Michelle Gomez that is so above everyone else’s that you almost wonder if they should do a whole season of her.

Memorable Moments: swooch swooh, neck pinches, Raming speed, counting the bodies, I want a pony

Doctor Who Flashbacks: Bill’s Quest parallels Martha’s in the Last of the Time Lords (10th Doctor Martha) , Peter Capaldi’s “ramming Speed’ moment bring to mind Matt Smith’s 1st scene as the Doctor End of Time Part 2, and the monks continue to bring to mind the Silence (11th Doctor) , Missy’s demands mimic Matt Smith’s demands to Nixon (Impossible Astronaut 11th doctor)

Oddities: Since when can the Doctor start a regen sequence on his own?

Pet Peeves: I think the monks run away much to easy, furthermore if they can anticipate everything why didn’t they anticipate this?

Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Nardole: What are you doing? It’s me, Nardie!
Bill: No. Wait, wait. Shut up. Tell me something. That first time, with the Heather creature chasing us, where did we run away to?
Nardole: Australia.
Bill: What noise should spaceship doors make?
Nardole: Shuck-shuck, obviously.


The Doctor: Human society is stagnating. You’ve stopped moving forward. In fact, you’re regressing.
Bill: This isn’t exactly much better.
The Doctor: It’s safer.
Bill: Not so much for the people the Monks are killing.
The Doctor: The Romans killed people and saved billions more from disease, war, famine and barbarism.
Bill: No, wait. What about free will? You believe in free will. Your whole thing is. You made me write a three thousand word essay on free will.
The Doctor: Yes, well, I mean, you had free will, and look at what you did with it. Worse than that, you had history. History was saying to you, look, I’ve got some examples of fascism here for you to look at. No? Fundamentalism? No? Oh, okay, you carry on. I had to stop you, or at least not stand in the way of someone else who wanted to, because the guns were getting bigger, the stakes were getting higher, and any minute now it was going to be goodnight, Vienna. By the way, you never delivered that essay, anyway.
Bill: Because the world was invaded by zombie Monks!


Bill: But it’s, it’s just a woman. God, the way you and Nardole have been carrying on, I thought you had some kind of monster in here, or something!
The Doctor: I do. Missy, Bill. Bill, Missy, the other Last of the Time Lords.
Bill: Wait a sec. Why have you got a woman locked in a vault? Because even I think that’s weird, and I’ve been attacked by a puddle.


Bill: So when you defeated the Monks, that’s how you did it?
Missy: Well, at this point, all that was left of the bloodline was a wee girl, and I just pushed her into a volcano.
Bill: It’s me. The lynchpin is me.
Missy: Awkward.
Bill: So you’re saying I have to die.
Missy: No. If you were just to die, everyone’s false memories would have to fade, and that could take ages. It’s actually better if you keep breathing, if your brain just keeps transmitting, well, nothing. That would blot out the residue false memories.
Bill: What would be left of me?
Missy: You’d be a husk. Completely and irrevocably brain-dead. You couldn’t even get on Celebrity Love Island.
The Doctor: Even if that was the truth, the fact that you’re suggesting it shows there’s been no change, no hope, no point. We don’t sacrifice people. It’s wrong, because it’s easy.
Missy: You know, back in the day, I’d burn an entire city to the ground just to see the pretty shapes the smoke made. I’m sorry your plus one doesn’t get a happy ending, but, like it or not, I just saved this world because I want to change.Your version of good is not absolute. It’s vain, arrogant and sentimental. If you’re waiting for me to become all that, I’m going to be here for a long time yet.


Missy: I keep remembering all the people I’ve killed. Every day I think of more. Being bad, being bad drowned that out. I didn’t know I even knew their names. You didn’t tell me about this bit.
The Doctor: I’m sorry, but this is good.


Final Verdict: 4 1/2 stars Very Very good

Ranking of Season: 2nd of 8 Missy is the reason and it’s only the excellence of Extremis that keeps it from the top  It was a tough call between this one and Knock Knock but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt over the multi part business.

1st Extremis
2nd The Lie of the Land
3rd The Pyramid at the End of the World
4th Knock Knock
5th Oxygen
6th Thin Ice
7th Smile
8th The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place, if there was more Missy it might have edged face the Raven

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th  Extremis
5th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
6th. The Girl who Died
7th. The Witch’s Familiar
8th. Hell Bent
9th. Mummy on the Orient Express
10th. Face the Raven

Summary:  We’ll be happy to enslave your planet, if you ask really nice.

Plot:  In the middle of the most volatile region on the planet a Pyramid at least 5000 years old suddenly appears heralding the arrival of the alien menace that has been wargaming their invasion forever, but there is a catch, they need to be invited by people who love them, will the people of Earth do so?

———————————–

Writing:   One must be a little forgiving on a multi part story but after about 10 minutes so much in this episode is entirely predictable.  The only exception was the  fact that Bill asked for the Doctor’s eyesight rather than his life (although in theory one leads to the other).  Furthermore no explanation is given as to why these folks need to be loved in order to take over the planet, again this might be in the next part but then again it might not.  The story wasn’t bad per se but it could have, and in fact should have been so much better.  Two pluses, I like the way the Character Rachel was written so her dwarfism is completely incidental rather than pushed and I really liked the Bill and Penny scene.

Acting:  It’s rare that I mention a supporting actor first but Rachel Denning as Erica is first rate, since we know that Peter Capaldi is leaving it’s very possible that it might to introduce her as a companion (but likely that would have been announced already if true) she clearly has chemistry with Capaldi, more than Mackie frankly, but as he’s leaving that’s unlikely.  Lucas and Capaldi do their normal good job and Mackie is fine (particularly in her scene with Penny which was great) but I found her acting in the climax completely unconvincing.

Memorable Moments:  The Pope flashback, the Secretary General, and really not much else.

Doctor Who Flashbacks:  The whole invaders from the beginning of time brings to mind the Silence from the Matt Smith years but other than that, not much.

Oddities: I can’t see the Doctor not realizing that Nardole would be vulnerable to the infection.

Pet Peeves:  Two huge plot holes.  #1  If there is CCTV and the monks are monitoring it why couldn’t the Doctor use that to let Bill see the current numbers (which is all he needs to figure the combination, the second is hole is MUCH worse.  These beings have been wargaming the conquering of earth since the beginning of history , that being the case why not conquer it at the primitive time when they would appear as Gods and lovingly be given control.  That’s so obvious that I’m almost insulted that it wasn’t brought up. And of course there is the gratuitous slam of Trump.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Erica: [As Tardis appears] Oh my god!
The Doctor: No, I’m the Doctor, but it’s an easy mistake to make.

 


Penn:   How did it go the dream version? [Flash back to the Pope scene from last week] [Laughing] The Pope!
Bill: In person.
Penny: The Pope, In your flat here?
Bill: Yeah
Penny: Your tutor has strange dreams.
Bill: I bet he does Yeah
Penny: Maybe he’s trying to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Bill: Maybe yeah. How to you feel on the subject? [Armed Soldiers break in] WOAH!
Soldier: Stay where you are, please remain still and calm, keep your hands in sight on the table. Ms Potts?
Bill: Yeah?
Soldier: who’s this.
Bill: this is my friend Penny who the hell are you?
Soldier: Room secure your excellency [elderly asian man enters] This is Miss Potts Sir.
Bill: Hi
Soldier: Ms Potts this is the secretary-general of the UN


The Doctor: Hello.
Red Monk: We know you.
The Doctor: Then you’ll know there is a line in the sand and I’m the man on the other side of it, you want to keep me that way.
Red Monk: We will take this planet and it’s people.
The Doctor: You will be prevented, you will be fought.
Red Monk: We will be invited. We will take this world, we will rule its people, but only when we’re asked.


The Doctor: Think Think Think Think Think Think Stupid Doctor. Stupid Stupid Stupid [an idea hits him] Handsome Doctor, Adorable, hugely intelligent, but still approachable Doctor! What’s another way to destroy bacteria?
Erica: Sterilization
The Doctor: and how do you sterilize something?
Ericia: Put it in boiling water
The Doctor: or
Erica: Put it in a flame.
The Doctor: She’s got it. By George she’s got it. I’m not going to lie to you, this means you’re insurance premiums are going to go through the roof in fact pretty much everything is going to go through the roof because I’m going to blow up the lab. I just need some kind of trigger first.
Erica: What are you going to blow it up with [it hits her] The Bacteria is making ethanol the green house and the lab are full of it!
The Doctor: Seriously what are you doing when this is all over?


Final Verdict: 4 stars A pretty good episode but I expected so much more.

Ranking of Season: 2nd of 7  It was a tough call between this one and Knock Knock but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt over the multi part business.

1st Extremis
2nd The Pyramid at the End of the World
3rd Knock Knock
4th Oxygen
5th Thin Ice
6th Smile
7th The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place, this has to be the worst overall season that I’ve seen since the old series in terms of stand out episodes.

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th  Extremis
5th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
6th. The Girl who Died
7th. The Witch’s Familiar
8th. Hell Bent
9th. Mummy on the Orient Express
10th. Face the Raven

Summary:  You shall know the truth and it will set you free, from life.

Plot:  The Still blind Doctor is visited by representatives of the Vatican (On the recommendation of a Pope from 1000 years ago) concerning an urgent matter.
A document in a lost language called the Veritas has once again been translated and every person who reads it commits suicide. At the personal request of the Pope the Doctor asked to come to the Vatican archive of heritical books and read the Veritas, what does it say? Can the Doctor read it and live, and what does Missy’s Apparent execution on a distant planet at the hands of the Doctor have to do with it all?
———————————–

Writing:   After a season memorable for unmemorable stories Stephen Moffett reminds us all that when he’s capable of. The story is a masterpiece, completely engaging, excellent plot, excellent story and as the first part of the three part story promises more to come. While he takes some liberties with the history of the church he does so without disrespecting the institution as well. This episode is simply Doctor Who at its best.

Acting:  &nbsp: This episode shows what can happen when you pair the fine acting that we’ve seen this season with a script worthy of the performances. Every single person here shines from regulars Capaldi, Lucas and Mackie to semi regulars like Michelle Gomez to the entire supporting cast particularly Corrado Invernizzi as Cardinal Angelo. Brilliant jobs all around

Memorable Moments:  I’m dying here, why didn’t the pope come, confession, you’re all going to hell. The scene with Bill, her date and the Pope walking in on them just as she’s explaining that she has nothing to feel guilty about is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Doctor Who Flashbacks: the Doctor at the Master’s execution (7th Doctor Doctor Who movie) I deny this reality (The Deadly Assassin 4th Doctor) I’ll turn good vs I haven’t turned Good (Capaldi The Magicians apprentice ) unreal things feeling pain. Big Finish Flashback to the 6th Doctor Frobisher adventure The Holy Terror

Oddities: Several rewrites on history concerning Pope Benedict the IX (and didn’t that picture look like Missy?) plus why didn’t the TARDIS translate the Pope’s speech to Bill?  (ther is a logical reason but can’t specify it because it is a spoiler to the plot resolution.

Pet Peeves: One thing: The writers had no problem re-writing Catholic history for the sake of the plot and changing the gender and rehabiliting one of the worst Pope’s in history, They would never dare to this with Islam but to Catholicism, no problem.


Great Quote(s) Just too many to list them all so I’ll settle for five via chakoteya.net transcripts

Bill: Alone at last. [Sound of TARDIS in Bedroom]
Penny:   Oh God, what was that?
Bill: The pipes. It’s, it’s the, the pipes in, in my bedroom. Be warned. Sometimes I shout at them.
Penny:  What?
Bill:  Are you okay?
Penny:  Yeah. Sorry, I’m just not quite used to all of this.
Bill:  Well, whatever this is, and actually it’s not anything yet, it is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Okay?
Penny:  Okay.
Pope Francis:  [Enters]  <speech in Italian basically asking how he got here from the Vatican> [re-enters the bedroom]
Penny:  That was the Pope! Bill, that was the Pope!
Bill: Yeah, yeah, give me a minute. I am about to have a truly awesome word with someone.

 


Cardinal Angelo:   Pope Benedict said that you were more in need of confession than any man breathing. But when the offer was made, you replied it would take too much time. On behalf of the Catholic Church, the offer stands. You seem like a man with regret on his mind.


Rafando: The executioner may now discuss his immortal soul and any peril thereunto.
The Doctor:  I never sent for you.
Hooded Figure:  Goodness is not goodness that seeks advantage. Good is good in the final hour, in the deepest pit without hope, without witness, without reward. Virtue is only virtue in extremis. This is what he believes, and this is the reason above all, I love him. My husband. My madman in a box. My Doctor. [Reading from River Song’s Diary then takes down his cowl to reval himself as Nardole)
Nardole: Your missus wouldn’t approve.
The Doctor:  How the hell did you get here?
Nardole: Followed you from Darillium, on the explicit orders of your late wife, River Song. Warning, I have full permission to kick your arse.

[Tardis]


Nardole:  Uh-uh-uh, Bill. You’re to walk behind me now, like the Doctor said.
Bill:  Yeah, totally not happening.
Nardole:  Okay, Bill. Miss Potts.  [voice suddenly low] I am the only person you have ever met, or ever will meet, who is officially licensed to kick the Doctor’s arse. I will happily do the same to you, in the event that you do not align yourself with any instructions I have issued which I personally judge to be in the best interests of your safety and survival.  [suddenly voice back to normal]  Okay, Bill?
Bill:  Okay.
Nardole:   Good-o!
Bill:   Nardole, are you secretly a badass?
Nardole:   Nothing secret about it, baby doll.


The Doctor:  I know. So did I. The trouble is, when simulants develop enough independent intelligence to realize what they are, there’s a risk they’ll rebel. Those deaths, they weren’t suicide. Those were people escaping. It’s like, er, Super Mario figuring out what’s going on, deleting himself from the game because he’s sick of dying.
Bill: No, I’m real. I feel real!
The Doctor:  Those pretend people you shoot at in computer games. Now you know.
Bill:  Know what?
The Doctor:  They think they’re real. They feel it. We feel it.


Final Verdict: 5 stars If this one is this good I can’t wait for parts two and three.

Ranking of Season: 1st of 6 This episode make the rest of a mediocre season look even more pathetic by comparison.

1st Extremis
2nd Knock Knock
3rd Oxygen
4td Thin Ice
5th Smile
6th The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: 4th.  I really had to think if this was better than the Caretaker but frankly if you had them change places it would not be an unreasonable choice.  However I give the Caretaker the nod because it’s a stand alone story vs multi part.

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th  Extremis
5th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
6th. The Girl who Died
7th. The Witch’s Familiar
8th. Hell Bent
9th. Mummy on the Orient Express
10th. Face the Raven

Summary:  That Air you’re breathing will cost you your life.

Plot:   Bill the Doctor and Nardole find themselves on a space station in an era where the company that makes your live support suit charges you by the breath for the air you breathe in the suit.  The only problem is that the suits seem to be killing the people wearing them, so cut off from the TARDIS the crew has a choice, die from lack of oxygen or risk being murdered by your life support system.
———————————–

Writing:    Yet another “evils of capitalism” my God that’s been played to death but hitting the concept of leaving cost benefit analysis of life is a great pro-life message that is lost.  There are several excellent twists to the story that are worthwhile and the interaction of the characters on the station works very well.  The addition of Nardole to the story, particularly his early interactions with the Doctor  are great but I think Bill gets a little short shifted by writer Jamie Mathieson in this episode.  Or to put it another way, I think it was a well written story but I think it could have used a tad more polish or perhaps a 2nd part as there was more here than they had time to develop.

Acting:   The more I see Matt Lucas the more I think of Frank DeKova from F-Troop who managed to steal every scene he was in during that series.  To be able to constantly do that with an actor as good as Capaldi is a real feat.  I’m presuming he will be leaving with Capaldi and that’s going to be a loss.  Pearl Mackie is certainly growing in the role and I think she made the material better but I think other than in spots she was undersold by the script.  The supporting cast for the episode deserves a thumbs up as they made the episode better.

Memorable Moments:  Fluid links,  rescued a racist,  fighting a spreadsheet, fined for dying

Doctor Who Flashbacks:  Biil’s reaction to Dar Ren vs Sarah Jane’s Reaction to Alpha Centuri (The Monster of Peladon 3rd Doctor)  Having to pay for Oxygen harkens to the Sun Makers (4th Doctor) “21 hours a week of unproductivity you will have to do without sleep until the debt is paid.

Oddities:  I think the cost benefit solution by the Doctor was excellent.

Pet Peeves:  I didn’t buy the “oh the spacesuit is damaged so it won’t kill her properly” business.  I think that was a very weak dodge.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

The Doctor: So, how does space kill you? I’m glad you asked. The main problem is pressure. There isn’t any. So, don’t hold your breath or your lungs will explode. Blood vessels rupture. Exposed areas swell. Fun fact! The boiling temperature of water is much lower in a vacuum. Which means that your sweat and your saliva will boil, as will the fluid around your eyes. You won’t notice any of this because fifteen seconds in, you’ve passed out as oxygen bubbles formed in your blood. And ninety seconds in, you’re dead. Any questions?  ( A student raises her hand.)  Yes?
Student: What’s this got to do with crop rotation?
The Doctor:  Er, I dunno. But space is great, isn’t it?


The Doctor:  Oh, look, Bill, it’s Nardole. What a lovely surprise. I thought I sent you to Birmingham for a packet of crisps.
Nardone: Yeah, I saw through your cunning ruse.
The Doctor:  Yes, well, if you will go thinking for yourself. What do you want?
Nardone:  I was given strict instructions to keep you at the university.
The Doctor:  Who by?
Nardone:  You.
The Doctor:  Well, you’re not doing a very good job, are you? I’ll overlook it this once.


The Doctor:  What killed the crew of this station?
Life Support Suit: I am unaware of any recent deaths.
The Doctor:  What about the oxygen? Where did it all go?
Life Support Suit: There has never been any oxygen in this station.
Nardole:  Oh, listen to that. Still saucy after all these years.
The Doctor:  Explain.
Life Support Suit: Oxygen is available for personal use only, at competitive prices.


Ivan: They’re nearly through!
The Doctor:  Open up. Let’s send them a message. Let’s teach them a lesson they will never forget. If they take our lives, we take their station and every penny they will ever make from it. Die well! It’s the finish line! It’s winning!
Abby: Open it.
Nardone:  Doctor! Doctor
The Doctor:  What?
Nardone:  It’s Bill.
The Doctor:  (sotto) Of course it’s Bill. Fate and me, we have a thing. (normal) Hello, suits. Our deaths will be brave and brilliant and unafraid. But above all, suits, our deaths will be expensive!  Check your readings. We die, your precious station dies. The whole thing will blow. The company will make the biggest loss in its history. A moment ago, we were too expensive to live. Now we’re more expensive dead. Welcome to the rest of your lives.


Final Verdict: 4 stars  but just barely.  An above avg episode  despite its weaknesses.

Ranking of Season: 2nd of 5  The first episode of the season not better than the previous one.

1st Knock Knock
2nd Oxygen
3rd Thin Ice
4th Smile
5th The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: n/a This is to my memory the longest steak that a Doctor has had of a 3rd season not having a top 10 episodes in it.

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek

Summary:  Sometimes a killer rental is just that.

Plot:   Bill and a group of friends find a place for themselves, a big old house at a bargain and she can’t wait to move etin and get her own place.  She is annoyed when the Doctor (her “grandfather) turns up but when her roommates start disappearing and dying can she and the Doctor solve the mystery of the landlord and his hidden daughter?
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Writing:  In once sense this is such a formula piece, spooky house, bargain too good to be true, twenty somethings disappearing you would think it wouldn’t work, but the strength of this story like the previous episode are the characters and their interaction and it turns what would normally be a pedantic episode into a winner for writer Mike Bartlett. I like very much that unlike Moffatt Bartlett uses Bill orientation without playing SJW.  I also love the sheer normalcy of the search for an apartment and the reality of trying to do so on a budget.

Acting:   For the first time this season the supporting cast brings their A game particular veteran actor David Suchet as the very dark yet weak landlord the rest of the young actors all do yeoman work here.  As always Peter Capaldi brings his A game and Pearl Mackie shines so well that almost total absence of Matt Lucas is not a disadvantage here. I found the supporting cast completely boring and forgettable which I think really costs this episode, but Capaldi does period pieces so well that one can almost forget it.

Memorable Moments:  Doff my cap,  Granddad, you should find another house,

Doctor Who Flashbacks:  Grandad (Susan and 1st Doctor), Harriet Jones (9th and 10th Doctor)  Plenty of things to kill you on earth (Last Christmas)

Oddities: I love the Doctor helping Bill move, it’s so ordinary like the Turkey thing in the 11th Doctor’s final episode.

Pet Peeves:  I don’t see any reason for these bugs to do what they do, the idea that the kid cold train them is quite a leap.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Shireen: [Frustrated at not finding a decent place] What do other people do?
Bill: Other people have money.


Bill:  He’s my grandad.

The Doctor: Aw, come on. Father at least, please.
Bill:  All right, grand-father.


Felicity: Do you like this music, Doctor?
The Doctor: Reminds me of Quincy Jones. I stepped in for him once. The bassist he’d hired turned out to be a Klarj Neon Death Voc-Bot. What was worse, he couldn’t play. 


Harry: What’s happened to her? What’s going on? Do you think it’s like she said? A thing?
The Doctor: Maybe.
Harry: And so is it out there now? Or in here?
The Doctor: Or both.
Harry: I’m scared.
The Doctor: Don’t be.
Harry: Why not?
The Doctor: It doesn’t help


Final Verdict: 4 stars That’s more like it.  A good regular episode and almost everyone lives too.

Ranking of Season: 1st of 4  Again a little better than the last one, the trend continues in the right direction

1st Knock Knock
2nd Thin Ice
3rd Smile
4th The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: The good news we’re creeping closer to the top ten, the bad news is we still haven’t cracked it. inching toward it

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek

Summary:  It’s the last of the great frost fairs and something nasty is under the ice.

Plot: On their way back from the planet of the emojis The Doctor and Bill find themselves on the Frozen Thames in London at the last of the Frost Fairs 1814, but while enjoying the sights they discover something under the water that is taking people. What is going on and what do street urchins and the people paying them to get people on the ice know about this.
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Writing: The strength of this story is the interaction between the Doctor and Bill and to a lesser degree Bill and the kids which really works, but the actual plot is so repetitive, evil aristocratic capitalist exploiting people for profit is so old that you can write it in your sleep.

Acting:   As always Peter Capaldi brings his A game and Pearl Mackie shines so well that almost total absence of Matt Lucas is not a disadvantage here. I found the supporting cast completely boring and forgettable which I think really costs this episode, but Capaldi does period pieces so well that one can almost forget it.

Memorable Moments:  Save him, Pete

Doctor Who Flashbacks:  Stealing from the thief (1st Doctor The Crusades episode 1) Frost Fairs (11th Doctor A good man goes to war) Slavery worries (Martha Jones Shakespeare Code 10th Doctor)

Oddities: Isn’t the Doctor worried about running into his past self since he was there with River Song and Steve Wonder at that very fair?

Pet Peeves:  The TARDIS give an alert about the alien life form in the Thames, yet the Doctor has not only visited the Frost fair several times but has visited London over and over during the periods before it and the TARDIS never noticed, never gave a word or an indication. in the past and it never give a warning.   What happened, did it forget? Was it on strike? That’s a plot hole to drive a truck through.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Bill: Yeah. Travelling to the past, There’s got to be rules. If I step on a butterfly, it could send ripples through time that mean I’m not even born in the first place and I could just disappear.
The Doctor: Definitely. I mean, that’s what happened to Pete.
Bill: Pete?
The Doctor:Your friend, Pete. He was standing there a moment ago, but he stepped on a butterfly and now you don’t even remember him.
Bill: Shut up! I’m being serious!
The Doctor: Yeah, so was Pete.
Bill: You know what I mean. Every choice I make in this moment, here and now, could change the whole future.
The Doctor: Exactly like every other day of your life. The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.


The Doctor: You know what happens if I don’t move on? More people die. There are kids living rough near here. They may well be next on the menu. Do you want to help me? Do you want to stand here stamping your foot? Because let me tell you something. I’m two thousand years old, and I have never had the time for the luxury of outrage.


Final Verdict: 3 3/4 stars This is the only episode that I’ve given this rating to, just under 4 stars.

Ranking of Season: 1st of 3. Again a little better than the last one, we’re getting there

1st Thin Ice
2nd Smile
3rd The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Another one that Doesn’t place but inching toward it

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek

Summary:  Don’t Worry be happy, or ELSE

Plot: The Doctor and Bill sneak out from under Nardole’s nose to visit one of the first human colonies where they discover a bunch of robots that run on emojis but the Doctor notices the people are missing, it turns out that being unhappy can be fatal, which might be a problem when the rest of the colonists awake and find out what’s going on.
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Writing: The first TARDIS trip is always interesting in a sense and Bill’s questions are promising.  As has been the case over the last few years there is a heavy indication of the long term season plot.   The concept of the villain is interesting as is the conflict in Bill’s practical lower middle class mind about escaping and staying escaped.  It’s a leg up over the previous episode but give how poor the previous one was, that’s not much of an accomplishment.

Acting:  The only thing wrong with the acting in this episode is Nardole in the sense Matt Lucas isn’t in it much Peter Capaldi again shines and Pearl Mackie seems to be clicking with him n   s does a more than adequate job as Bill with strong hints of even better to come but it’s Matt Lucas’ Nardole again in a lesser role really makes it all come together.

Memorable Moments:  You’re the Help line, I’m not making tea for her, the pound signs in the eyes.

Doctor Who Flashbacks:  The Help line reference (1st Doctor Clara #3)  Landing at the site of the next episode (shades of Season 1 of of the original series) Migration from Earth Ark in Space (4th doctor) Beast Below (11th Doctor)

Oddities:  What exactly would the Vardis use as currency?

Pet Peeves:  Given that the Earth is being evacuated the idea that they never thought of programming the robot vardies to recognize or deal with grief or death is not credible.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Bill: It’s a beautiful place.
The Doctor: All traps are beautiful that’s how they work.


Bill: You can’t reach the controls from the seats. What’s the point in that? Or do you have stretchy arms, like Mister Fantastic?


The Doctor [OC]: Once, long ago, a fisherman caught a magic haddock. The haddock offered the fisherman three wishes in return for its life. The fisherman said, “I’d like my son to come home from the war, and a hundred pieces of gold.” The problem is magic haddock, like robots, don’t think like people. The fisherman’s son came home from the war in a coffin and the King sent a hundred gold pieces in recognition of his heroic death. The fisherman had one wish left. What do you think he wished for?
(The colonists start waking up again.)  Some people say he should have wished for an infinite series of wishes, but if your city proves anything, it is that granting all your wishes is not a good idea.
Bill: It’s okay. It’s not going to hurt you. Actually, it doesn’t even know who you are.
Steadfast: What happened? What have you done?
The Doctor: In fact, the fisherman wished that he hadn’t wished the first two wishes. You see, in a way, he pressed the reset button.


Final Verdict: 3 1/2 stars I liked it better the 2nd time I watched it but it still seemed kinda average, particularly for a first trip episode.

Ranking of Season: 1st of 2. Given how bad last weeks’ episode was that’s not a surprise

1st Smile
2nd The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place but again that’s because the previous seasons were so good.

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek

I know I usually don’t lead with a Doctor Who review but I’ve been sick this week and I needed to get it in before the new episode.

Summary:  Something odd is going on at St Luke’s University Bristol where there is a Doctor in Residence

Plot: The Doctor notices a woman named Bill who works in the kitchen of the campus who has been attending his lectures, Bill has been noticing various women but one of them has noticed an odd puddle that leads to trouble.
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Writing: Moffat puts us in an interesting setting, suggesting subplot after subplot with an obvious season long arc brewing it’s a situation full of promise.  (I REALLY liked the whole Doctor noticing the lunch lady in the lectures bit)  and delivers one of the weakest, most contrived SJW stories that one could give and the worst story to introduce a character since the Twin Dilemma.  It’s as if the story itself was an afterthought to all that’s going on in his head.

Acting:  There is a lot wrong with this episode but none of it has to do with the acting,  Peter Capaldi shines, delivers, Pearl Mackie’s does a more than adequate job as Bill with strong hints of even better to come but it’s Matt Lucas’ Nardole again in a lesser role really makes it all come together.  I’m shocked at how much he ads to the show.

Memorable Moments:  The Doctor’s office, I fattened her up.  The first mention to my knowledge of the Tardis Bathroom (other than Deck 7)

Doctor Who Flashbacks: The Pictures of River Song and Susan, Sonic Screwdrivers, Movellans

Oddities:  There are signs that Nardole is cybernetic yet he give a warning about the Tardis Bathroom, The Doctor refers to the Morvellans as Friends but that’s not quite accurate.

Pet Peeves:  Ok so you have this puddle, it’s apparently so powerful that it’s able to travel through time and space on a whim and even defeat Daleks and all it really wanted to was:

1. Take over one human
2. follow a crush.

I’m sorry you’re telling me that such an artifact couldn’t resist that last thought? And what’s it actually doing there? It’s not about an actual plot, it’s about emphasizing Bill as a lesbian and legitimizing such a crush to an audience of kids.  The irony of course is the rather humorous chips scene had already accomplished that purpose but was well written.  If you had an actual plot or reason behind such a super powerful liquid life form or whatever there, that would be one thing, but there was no sign of it.  This was just spiking the ball in your face, full SJW the same thing that killed the first series.

I’ve grown used to dealing dealing with  SJW in entertainment in general and Doctor Who in particularly, I do my best to ignore it but as objectionable as it it’s even worse when paired bad storytelling.


Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts

Bill: Look at this place. It’s like a
The Doctor: Spaceship.
Bill:  Kitchen.
The Doctor: A what?
Bill: A really posh kitchen, all metal. What happened with the doors, though? Did you run out of money?


Nardole: Oh, human! Human alert. Do you want me to repel her?
The Doctor: She’s just passing through. She wants to use the toilet.
Nardole: Oh. I’d er give it a minute, if I were you.


Bill:  Doctor! It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!

Nardole: Way-hey! We got there! (Nardole and the Doctor shake hands.)
Bill: How is that possible? How do you do that?
Nardole: Well, first you have to imagine a very big box fitting inside a very small box.
Bill: Okay.
Nardole: Then you have to make one. It’s the second part people normally get stuck on.


The Doctor: Nardole, we need to move away from the doors and towards the Tardis.
Nardole: What if it attacks us?
The Doctor:  Well, that’s the good news. It means it’s not interested in what’s inside the vault. It just wants to kill us.
Nardole: Oh.
The Doctor: Run!


Bill:  Can I ask you a personal question?
The Doctor: No.
Bill: Can I anyway?
The Doctor: Yes.
Bill:  Are you from space?
The Doctor: No, of course not. Nobody’s from space. I’m from a planet like everybody else.
Bill:  This planet?
The Doctor: No, not specifically this one.


Final Verdict: 2 1/2 stars My wife thinks it deserves less and it might but there was enough there to get this level.  What’s really a shame is this episode could have easily been 4 stars or more.  So much potential and so much waste for a story they had a whole figgen year to write.  I’m hoping and expecting a lot better given good writes given such a talented cast

Ranking of Season: 1st of 1 (by default) that won’t last (at least I hope not)

1st  The Pilot

Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place but it’s worth repeating what I said while complementing the Return of Doctor Mysterio:  “This is a children’s show that adults can enjoy instead of a children show pushing adult themes, more please.”  Apparently they didn’t take my advice.

1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek

The latest rumor that Tilda Swinton is the top runner to be the next Doctor is all over the place.

As insanity of the social justice warriors in media envelops their fellow SJW’s at the BBC, who get the final say in remaking The Doctor in their own cultural image,  let me highlight a few practical points before you decide to give red Tilda, or any other woman, the keys to the Doctor’s TARDIS and throw the final vestiges of what is a children’s show, and not as it may seem a show for adults who are still children, into the bin.

  1. History

People tend to see the world based on the world around them, however history didn’t start in 1990. For the vast majority of human history women were chattel at worst and subordinates as best and in most Islamist countries that remains true today. Given the history how many knots are you going to have to twist any time a female Doctor arrives at any date prior to 1900 or in any non western society today (say Saudi Arabia) and get her to persuade the various powers that be to give “her” the ability to deal with threat X, Y or Z? And unless you plan on only one adventure in Earth’s past how do you plan on making said “twist” work each time?

  1. The Teenage boy fan base

There are a lot of teenage boys who watch Doctor Who, I discovered it myself as a teenager. The idea of a time traveling eccentric who travels the universe defeating monsters and saving planets was very appealing to me as I suspect tales of heroism have been to young men ever since there have been young men.

How do you think those young men approaching or in puberty (not to mention many who haven’t bothered to develop maturity these day) are going to see a Doctor to put it bluntly, with tits?

Do you really want to turn the Doctor, who is essentially the hero fighting the monsters, into a sex object because that is what is going to happen, however you dress this Doctor or however you play it the sexuality angle will be on the table (and in Swinton’s case there is plenty on youtube to fuel it)

Russell T. Davies and gay icons status notwithstanding, do you want the Doctor to become mastubation material for teenage boys? And is the BBC ready for the inevitable porn parody that will follow which would likely involve scarves, fezs, celery and the Doctor literally doing him/her self which will be watched by every kid with an internet connection over the age of 8?

Yeah that’s the image the that we want to leave with the youth of Britain and the world

  1. The Doctor in combat as a prisoner

As anyone who has followed the Doctor on TV or in books or via Big Finish knows, the Doctor is constantly getting captured and chained up in dungeons, and prisons and getting tortured. One the Doctor is a woman there is an entirely different dimension.

Rape.

How do you deal with the inevitable possibility in fact probability of the Doctor being raped after being taken? How do you explain it away? How do you get that to play on what is supposed to be a kids show and is the theme you really want to be dealing with?

Because anywhere that the TARDIS lands where women are property if the Doctor is captured that’s on the table, and if the Doctor is in that situation is the companion going to show up in the nick of time?

  1. Bringing Back those women viewers:

One of the knocks against Capaldi, who like Peter Davidson is in my opinion an excellent Doctor who had the misfortune of following the best actor who held the role in his generation, is that being older he lost some of the female audience because of the lack of sexual tension in the background. This is actually again goes to the door of Russell Davies who decided once Eccleston was gone, to turn the Doctor/Companion relationship into something more, first pining for Rose, then missing Rose while the Martha pined for him, then Donna and the recurring “we’re not a couple” gag. And Matt Smith with Amy, then the Doctor/Rory rivalry, then Clara, the TARDIS has been full of sexual tension and relationships, which thanks to good writing and fine actors was handled without destroying the nature of the show & the appeal to kids.

I can understand wanting to get that base back but the truth is making the Doctor a woman will not bring back the tension that attracted the female audience. The critics will love it of course but that’s not the audience they lost. They can try to play up the “Woman can be a hero too” business but that’s already been demonstrated in the series as far back a Romana & Leela. Making the Doctor a woman will just be a stunt and like all stunts will fizzle?

5…and getting out of it

This should really be 4a but when, not if, the SJW affirmative action Doctor fails what then? If the ratings don’t improve and the audience doesn’t return do you DARE kill off the 1st woman doctor after one season? After two? Do you risk the wrath of the SJW community if you don’t replace the 1st woman doctor with the 2nd woman doctor or the first openly gay doctor hitting on every man in history or the first transgender doctor or the first cisnormative but sexually confused asian crossdressing doctor? You get the idea. Once you start down this path you’ll have a tough time getting out of it without facing a backlash and we’ve already seen how very nice the SJW community reacts?

It won’t be pretty

  1. All girls together

If you want a “woman” doctor why not give a series to Romanna, or Jenny (the Doctor’s Daughter) or Susan (The Doctor’s Granddaughter)? Why not take a female Time Lord inspired by the Doctor, and have her go off to do what the Doctor Does? You could even have Catherine Tate thanks to the Meta Crisis (The Doctor Donna) do it and regenerate. Hell you could Bring back River Song, give her a new regeneration and let her do it. Want a hero for young girls, let that hero be a woman from start to finish, someone they can dream like being without an expensive operation. Let the “female” doctor be a woman right from the start and show that she can carry a series on her own and a TARDIS on her own, granted you have some of the same problems that I’ve already mentioned above, but with a different character and a different back story you have the flexibility that you don’t have with the Doctor.

  1. The Lessons of history

Finally let me remind you all of what happened the last time the BBC decided to play SJW with the Time Lord:

The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn’t shout about it,” said McCoy.

“We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do.

His companion Ace/Sophie Aldred agreed

Sophie Aldred, who played Ace, the Doctor’s feminist companion, said a shared contempt for right-wing ideology had inspired “a real bonding process” for cast and crew.

“Thatcher was our prime minister and we weren’t happy,” she said.

So the decision was made to turn a children’s television show into a platform for 80’s SJW. The result?

ratings slumped from a high of 16m, when Tom Baker was the Doctor a decade earlier, to 3m and the show was taken off air twice: in 1986-7 by Michael Grade, then the director of programmes — who said it had “no redeeming features” — and again in 1989, two years after Grade had left the BBC.

Ah the joys of the left managing to make a British institution so unpalatable that it could not survive.

One would think that a show about time travel would be more attuned to the lessons of history.

Anyways they likely care what a fifty something like me thinks even though both of my sons discovered fandom thru me they will do what they want.