Ms. Kizlet is using the wi-fi signal to control people in the coffee shop.

 “I do love showing off,” she says through a waitress she has made her puppet. “Just let me show you what control of the wi-fi can do for you,” she adds through the mouth of a young girl.

It’s a tech demo. Here’s what this latest version of the operating system can do. Upgrade now. The iconography is all ruthlessly current. Particularly fitting: Kizlet and her crew are playing around on iPads as they do their little Steve Jobs routine. You almost expect her to reveal that they’ve captured Clara with an “oh, and one more thing.”

Kizlet explains that they’ve “released thousands” of base stations into the world, blanketing the whole of humanity in their Worldwide Web of Fear.

Meanwhile, Clara’s on her laptop. She recognizes the vulnerability in every grand system: people. With just a bit of clicking around she’s figured out where Kizlet is transmitting from. The most obvious spot in London, really. Kizlet's client loves using grand projects for his own purposes. It’s what he did in the Underground, and it’s what he’s doing now. But it’s 2013 now, and London’s grand projects aren’t for the little people anymore. Now they’re for the elite.

So it's the perfect place for Kizlet’s operation. The prestigious tallest building in London, to be filled with high-paying businesses. The metaphor is straightforward: the grand prestige project, like the Olympics and the Jubilee from the same year, is literally eating people alive. Construction is consumption. It even consumes and annexes the protests against it. Its name comes from the complaints about its design - the fear that it would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London.” Of course, the objection, like the vision itself, is concerned with the abstract form of London, as opposed to with the lives of those within it. Heritage London or the modern corporate state. It’s all the same: an aesthetic to show off. A system for control.

And yet, architecturally, the building is designed to be invisible - to blend into the clouds around it. Control is always supposed to be invisible, after all. Just something in the air, like the wi-fi signal itself. The spectacle is always showing off and remaining invisible at the same time. As with any demo, it’s not just technology being shown off. It’s ideology. Dressed up, inevitably, in the rhetoric of upper middle class consumption. The Great Intelligence wants “healthy, free-range, human minds.”

 “The farmer tends his flock like a loving parent,” Kizlet says.

“The abbatoir is not a contradiction,” she insists.

“No one loves cattle more than Burger King.”

So the Doctor smashes into the side of the building and tears it all down.


Elizabeth Sandifer 7 years, 2 months ago

I think this one's particularly well-written. My favorite so far. :)

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drfgsdgsdf 7 years, 2 months ago

hmmm something not quite right here

Jack Graham at the top of stairs, his head slowly turns an unnatural 180 degrees to reveal....

No but seriously very good

This episode compared to most Moffat episodes was basically glossy and harmless. It might've have helped if Kizlet worked for a real business, a company. Whereas she just seemed to run some kind of shadowy operation with lots of computers like in a thousand other cult programmes. At least she had a clear motive unlike that Madame eye-patch nonsense in 2011.

The stuff with the Doctor putting Clara to bed with some biscuits was...problematic, Despite the music telling me how sweet this was

The worst part for me though was the smug cynical throwaway "gag" that the London riots were caused by the aliens. And that is probably the most Moffat has directly engaged with contemporary Britain since he became show-runner. Summed up his point of view for me

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Jack Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes, I hated the riots gag. And the woman gag earlier in the episode.

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