Empress of Mars Review

(47 comments)

In what seems likely to be his last script for the series, Mark Gatiss finally manages to get ruthlessly trad Doctor Who to work in the new series. Sure, we’ve had straight-up bases under siege and throwbacks, but most of those were at their root prettified versions - what people thinking back to the highlights of Doctor Who half-remember the series as being. But this is what the series actually was - a quaintly stagey morality play in a cave. More than, I think, any new series episode to date you could imagine this one with Jon Pertwee in it. Sure, the Victorian expedition would be down to about five people and you wouldn’t do the pop culture jokes, but this belongs to the series that made Colony in Space, The Mutants, and, yes, The Curse of Peladon in a way the new series simply hasn’t before.

It’s easy to make this sound like an unimpressive trick - and it’s not like the three stories I listed there make many people’s top ten lists. (Though I think they’re all underrated.) But, and I really want to stress that I’m not damning with faint praise here, one need only look at how long Mark Gatiss has spent trying to make Doctor Who feel like the Pertwee era to see that it’s not even remotely easy to make something simultaneously feel like 1972 and not feel like a jarring mess in 2017.

Part of what makes it work is what always made me less pessimistic about the Gatiss episode this year - the fact that Victorian explorers fighting Ice Warriors on Mars is so utterly, pathologically Gatiss that it holds things together. What’s interesting, then, is that it’s an idea it’s impossible to actually imagine Letts and Dicks going for. It’s not that it’s too gonzo for the production team that brought us The Claws of Axos, but it’s gonzo in the wrong way. Literally nobody but Mark Gatiss would ever suggest it. But more to the point, it’s too unvarnished in its political critique - when the Pertwee era did the Empire it was as the “Earth Empire,” and already in its collapse phase. Actually doing the Victorians and treating them as invaders would have been too much. (Although to be fair, part of why this feels so Pertwee is that “Earth invades Mars” turns out to be indistinguishable from The Sea Devils aside from the costumes.
The irony, though, is that of course this isn’t a critique Gatiss wants to push too far either. He puts the obligatory lines in, sure. And the basic conflict between Godsacre and Catchlove is a critique of Victorian culture. But he’s not Peter Harness, and he’s not going to do a rigorously political episode any more than he’s going to bother characterizing Bill in more depth than “the one that makes pop culture references.” Given the choice between biting political allegory and riffing on Edgar Rice Burroughs some more, or indeed between most things and riffing on Edgar Rice Burroughs some more, it’s not hard to guess what’s going to win.

So instead we get a story that hinges on straight-up virtue ethics whereby the cowardly deserter ends up the clear-cut good guy, while Catchlove is evil because he’s selfish and pig-headed as opposed to because his entire system of values is morally bankrupt. Which is roughly how it ends up being a Pertwee revival piece - it’s morally simplistic in the same way.

All of which confounds my standards. In terms of “something I haven’t seen before,” Pertwee revivalism is obviously a flop. On the other hand, if you’re going to miss something I haven’t seen before, something I haven’t seen in a long time is probably the next best thing. And more to the point, it’s something a large swath of the audience simply won’t have seen at all. But, of course, this also segues into a different problem, namely the ending, in which Alpha Centauri is wheeled out like something the audience should actually be expected to recognize. Putting aside the ludicrous self-indulgence, which I can forgive, the decision to end on that note makes it clear that this is a Pertwee throwback for people who like Pertwee throwbacks, as opposed to for people who haven’t seen something like this before. (Indeed Jill, who’s never seen a Peladon story, initially thought Alpha Centauri was going to turn out to be a front for some season-culminating evil. She was relieved to find out it was just ridiculous fanwank.)

 Is that a problem? Maybe not, though I’d be lying if I said I was confident that was a judgment made out of anything more than a wearied acceptance of Mark Gatiss. I mean, it’s not like I suspect this story of being some Nathan-Turneresque morass of continuity that’s impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t have a Peter Haining book to hand. For the most part, this was simple and reasonably engaging fun. There are loftier goals, but that’s still a pretty good one.

  • What I do wonder is what percentage of the audience sees it as a throwback to The Hungry Earth/In Cold Blood. Presumably attentive new series fans who aren’t historcally invested in the differences between Ice Warriors and Silurians. (Though it’s worth noting that The Hungry Earth/In Cold Blood was longer ago today than Rose was in 2010. Kids watching have largely never seen it; Moffat really has been around for a long time.) Although the comparison largely flatters Empress of Mars, which is more clever and better paced. They picked the wrong showrunner, folks.
  • Which is not to say I particularly want to see more Mark Gatiss episodes of Doctor Who, That said, I really do find myself slightly melancholy at the likelihood of his departure. For all his faults, and they are numerous, he has a distinctive vision of Doctor Who that nobody else comes close to and a generally under-acknowledged instinct towards experimentation and pushing outside his comfort area. Sometimes that works out well (Robot of Sherwood), other times decidedly not (Sleep No More), but I think a survey of his Doctor Who career (especially when one realizes The Unquiet Dead and The Idiot’s Lantern were rewritten by Davies, so that Victory of the Daleks is our first glimpse of “pure” Gatiss) reveals a writer who evolved and grew more than people give him credit for. It’s not that I expect he’d ever get good, but I’m curious what late style might have brought. Of course, the answer probably can’t be a better way for him to go out than this, so.
  • I am glad Gatiss got to write Missy before he went, even if she’s just a cameo here, and a less than explicable one at that. (Why did the TARDIS take off, other than Gatiss apparently not wanting to write Nardole? Why wouldn’t it go back? Why is she so worried about the Doctor?)
  • At least Alpha Centauri still looks, in the immortal words of Lennie Mayne, “like a fucking prick.”
  • Speaking of Missy and Alpha Centauri, I believe this the first episode of Doctor Who with two genderqueer characters in it. And with Bill, an impressive three queer characters. Happy Pride month, everyone.
  • One aspect of this that’s particularly interesting is Friday. He’s underplayed, not least in the way he basically disappears from the story once he frees the Doctor and Bill, but he’s a type of character we haven’t seen before, an alien who’s genuinely conflicted between the two factions. He’s subtle in ways that are uncharacteristic both for Ice Warriors and for Mark Gatiss. One thing that makes this possible - the decision to have him be played by a single actor instead of having Nicholas Briggs do another monster voice. Richard Ashton’s performance, especially the decision to do a very different voice from the standard Ice Warrior hiss, is really impressive for a monster suit performance.
  • And in a random comment about suits, it’s really weird to see Doctor Who drop two new spacesuit designs in a season after recycling the one from The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit all the way through Kill the Moon.
  • This was the last thing of the season I didn’t have high expectations for (although it cleared those expectations handily). Frankly, I’m massively psyched for everything left until Chibnall, possibly next week most of all.
  • All right. See you Tuesday with some Proverbs of Hell and Thursday with Ian McDuffie for a podcast. 

Ranking 

  1. Extremis
  2. Oxygen
  3. Thin Ice
  4. The Pyramid at the End of the World
  5. The Pilot
  6. Empress of Mars
  7. Smile
  8. Knock Knock
  9. The Lie of the Land

Comments

crossie 4 months, 1 week ago

Detail I liked; Bill is always bringing up sci-fi horror movies, but the only movie the Doctor brings up is a Disney cartoon. Bill becomes the "fan" as companion for a while, saying well obviously 'Doctor Who' is about science fiction and monsters, so he'll like that, but the Doctor's all like, actually, I'm the star of a kid's show, too, and I really don't have a problem with that. Quite the opposite.

That being said, makes me regret the fact that Gatiss didn't bring up the Disney version of Robin Hood in "Robots of Sherwood" even more.

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thesmilingstallioninn 4 months, 1 week ago

Oh, that one made me laugh.

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Jarl 4 months, 1 week ago

You wanna talk awkward continuity callouts, an episode set two years after Tooth and Claw and under the polar ice caps from The Waters of Mars features not a single reference to the Torchwood Institute or to the Flood, but found time to include hamfisted references to both The Curse of Peladon and Sleep No More.

Gatiss come back.

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Roderick T. Long 4 months, 1 week ago

Speaking of Tooth and Claw, notice that the portrait of Queen Victoria is not the real Victoria but rather the actress from that episode.

(By contrast with the last Monks episode, where the real Churchill and the McNiece Churchill inexplicably *both* figured on the giant viewscreen. As did Trump, despite the U.S. president previously appearing not to be Trump.)

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Kaan Vural 4 months, 1 week ago

Possibly the simulation, finding Trump's hair too implausible, was unable to adequately mimic it.

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CJM 4 months, 1 week ago

I didn't like this precisely because it felt so unambitious. The Crimson Horror might have been a Victorian romp, but it at least had a strong supporting cast, and a highly comedic script that made it feel different to the rest of 7b in a good way. Cold War might have been a base-under-siege with Ice Warriors, but it was committed to doing something slightly different by just giving the rest of the cast to relatively well-known actors, giving the Moffat era a rare one-episode supporting cast.

This on the other hand has a set-up that could precisely show the British Empire at its worst, and doesn't. Instead, it goes paint-by-numbers with a premise that is almost too silly to be paint-by-numbers. Friday as a servant was interesting, but nothing comes of the implied racism and everyone is forgiven at the end. The rest of the cast are forgotten after the "Evil" soldier is shot, as is the danger of running out of supplies. So, a story that becomes boring despite its premise precisely because it refuses to engage with its premise.

The British Empire was treated as some quaint, honourable achievement, as opposed to the brutal system it actually was. Even the opening plays like we're supposed to cheer that us Brits beat the Yanks at their own game.

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Chris G 4 months, 1 week ago

Similarly enjoyed this episode, but I think it's problems can be summed up in its lack of Victorian attitudes to race. Gatiss has the second black companion (who's last adventure historical made a point of Victorians being racists), a critique of imperialism, an alien called Friday after Man Friday, soldiers who'd been posted in Africa and a black soldier marrying a white woman.

And there's nothing. It seems to be borne out of a similar urge as the Churchill as hero story; let's not get too politically complex in Dr Who. But as with there, pointing out the Victorians were racists (especially in a story about colonialism) is the apolitical option and this is whitewashing the horrible nature of the past. Was the one big problem in the episode for me.

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Harlequin 4 months, 1 week ago

I feel I should point out that Bill had never previously visited the Victorian era :)

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James Taylor 4 months, 1 week ago

I just read an interview with Gatiss about his initial opposition to including the black soldier (he didn't write him as any particular race). He backed down when he discovered that there was a black soldier in the army at the time (though he was more of a mascot than a soldier, at least to begin with). He did in fact marry a white woman.

I too thought it was a stretch while watching though.

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Planet of the Deaf 4 months, 1 week ago

In this story, the soldier came across as a "white character" played by a black actor, rather than a "black character".

The way he spoke, the way the other characters interacted with him, wasn't of an African solider fighting with the British army like the example Gattis found afterwards...

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Daibhid C 4 months, 1 week ago

...Meanwhile on my Twitter feed, people are saying "Oh, FFS, Gattis" over the fact he ever had any problem with the character being black.

There were Black British people in the Victorian era. There were, apparently, black soldiers in the British Army. If there was nobody in the intersection of this venn diagram, I'm not sure there couldn't have been.

(Or maybe the idiot on Twitter saying people of African origin are never really considered Scottish, which is why America is The Best Country, has left me more defensive on the subject than I realised. As ever, my conclusion is "I dunno, it's complicated, probably".)

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Mark Pompeo 4 months, 1 week ago

I thought this was wonderful, warts and all. My favorite Gatiss story, I think.
As an unabashed 3rd Doctor lover, this one really hit the spot for me, and the Alpha Centauri was a great bit of fanwank to pull out (they even got the original voice actress who's now 92 years old)!

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Max Curtis 4 months, 1 week ago

For me, the biggest problem with Empress is Gatiss' studious avoidance of race as a factor in imperialism. There's no mention of WHY the Victorian soldiers think they have a right to conquer Mars, or to make a green-skinned guy their servant. The funny "don't shoot him" joke is at odds with that: to what extent do they see him as a person, or just another non-white creature to be ruled over?

And the worst thing is the Doctor and Bill never ask Friday what his real name is. Which is really offensive when you think about it.

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CJM 4 months, 1 week ago

I had a similar problem with THIN ICE, where it felt like only the cartoonishly evil were racist, ignoring how a figure like Trump can only exist in world with men like John McCain who don't fight it.

But this was on a whole new level. It felt rather romantic towards empire in a way that the original scientific romances Gattis is homaging with the Victorian setting weren't.

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Daibhid C 4 months, 1 week ago

The funny "don't shoot him" joke is at odds with that: to what extent do they see him as a person, or just another non-white creature to be ruled over?

The thing about the British Empire is that it wouldn't have even understood that to be an either-or question. That's how you end up with Kipling, who's very keen on Indian culture and thinks the natives are wonderful chaps when you get to know them, but at the same time has no doubt that the British are supposed to be there, and supposed to be in charge.

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Max Curtis 4 months, 1 week ago

Exactly! And to me, that's the episode's most interesting idea, and Gatiss doesn't run with it.

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

But this is what the series actually was - a quaintly stagey morality play in a cave.

This is a brilliant line.

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Riggio 4 months, 1 week ago

I found this to be the best Gatiss episode in a long time – including the mistakes of not knowing what to do with Nardole, including Alpha Centauri for any reason other than that he could, and not really knowing what to do with Friday after Queen Iraxxa shows up. But I also thought its politically enraged content was more front-and-centre. And the Pertwee-style virtue moralities were the main drivers of that content.

Basically, the cruelty, racism, and petty greed of the soldiers like Catchlove and Jackdaw carry a wider political message – the world-conquering ambitions of the British Empire encourage this kind of cruelty and thievery. Catchlove isn't just a prick, he's a prick who's clearly entitled by the morality of his time. Because they're such visual caricatures of the romanticized imperial British army, they become walking symbols of Brexit's pathological ambitions to resurrect the Britain of the empire's height.

More details for my piggybacking on Phil's blog again.

http://adamwriteseverything.blogspot.ca/2017/06/the-pathetic-impotence-of-empire-doctor.html

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Anton B 4 months, 1 week ago

If one was approaching this as an entry in the TARDIS Eruditorum one might be obliged to point out that the scariest allegation thrown at Jeremy Corbyn by the right-wing British press in the weeks before the election was that he wanted to take us back to the 1970s. To which most young voters said "Yaaay!" Thinking only of Ziggy Stardust and, yes, possibly Pertwee era Doctor Who.

So, on cue, we're given Gattis' 1880s, viewed through the nostalgia smeared lens of the 1970s. Or maybe a mildly steampunk (already an outdated trope surely?) ripping yarn set in an alternate past that only exists at some intersection of Boys Own Paper and Amicus Films. It’s tricky, this psychochronography.

BTW The opening sequence was a crib from the 1967 movie 'First Men on the Moon' where a Union Jack flag is found on the moon by American astronauts leading to the revelation that the British got there first in the 1880s.

Gattis revels in Victoriana like a 1960s hipster in Portobello market but never allows for consequences. His over researched period dialogue was remarkably tin-eared and weightless.

Merely presenting Victorian values is not to interrogate them. The ‘joke’ line -
"I'm going to make allowances for your Victorian attitudes. Because, well, you actually are ... Victorian!”
As spoken by Bill, a gay woman of colour just won’t do. Would she let a Confederate slave trader off the hook because ‘well, actually he is a plantation owner’? At least Hitler and Lord 'Thin Ice' got punched.

‘Friday’ was explained with a throwaway reference to Robinson Crusoe but not unpacked, leaving Pearl Mackie once again to carry the scene with just her facial expression to uncover the colonialist subtext, how the renaming of slaves is one way of demonstrating ownership of another human being. That she does all this with a single raised eyebrow and slight tilt of the head is testament to Mackie’s acting talent.

At least Alpha Centauri was carefully framed by the Doctor’s space monitor so that newer viewers were spared the full phallic horror of the original. The lolz for us old timers was in what was not revealed.

Crazy Speculation Time!

Michelle Gomez is pitching her performance rather oddly and I have a theory. Steven Moffat won’t be able to resist one final game-changing twist. There has been no announcement as to who the new Doctor actor might be. What if it’s someone already in the show? What if the regeneration, in some kind of timey-wimey way has already happened? What if we’re finally going to get a female Doctor? Played by Michelle Gomez.

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Planet of the Deaf 4 months, 1 week ago

Surely you DO have to take into account the morals and customs of the period? Especially in a time travelling show.

Imagine if TV had been around 150 years ago, and Doctor Who had actually been a Victorian creation...the equivalent would have been the Doctor and 19th century Companion flying to the 2010s and being deeply offended and hostile to modern people because they didn't go to church (never mind modern attitudes to sexuality and equality etc).


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CJM 4 months, 1 week ago

Take them into account, maybe. But in a world where people gain an awful lot from hearkening back to these eras, refusing to engage with them at all I'm less sure about.

I wasn't convinced by THIN ICE, but at least that said "We acknowledge this would be an issue, but it won't be". It felt braver than doing an episode about a colonial force rendering an alien into a man-servant and avoiding acknowledging anything else.

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Lambda 4 months, 1 week ago

A better equivalent would be to take a modern prejudice which wasn't so much a thing in their time, like that against various drugs. Locking people up for nonconforming drug choices is pretty darn offensive.

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Harlequin 4 months ago

Rona Munro now seems to have done just that in portraying polarised sexuality as a modern prejudice.

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Kaan Vural 4 months, 1 week ago

Making allowances is one thing...but you can feel the episode's gears grind as Mackie is forced to go from offense to complete indifference in the course of a sentence. Totally undercuts the moment. Transitions like that should be considered cruelty to actors.

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numinousnimon 4 months, 1 week ago

Interestingly, this apparently was originally intended as political in precisely the same way the Peladon stories were - as transparent allegory for the present. The original pitch (and possibly early drafts?) was supposedly a Peladon story about Brexit, with Peladon debating leaving the Federation. That got whittled down in the editing to a single joke about Brexit, which was cut from the final transmitted version.

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Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago

In the Fan Show, Mark Gatiss says one very subtle allusion sneaked in: the line about "this [is] the start of the Ice Warriors golden age" being a joke about the Brits who are championing Brexit.

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Matt 4 months, 1 week ago

Minor point re. Gatiss not wanting to write for Nardole, I suspect that this episode was written before he was confirmed as a regular, and rather than go for a complete rewrite, they just added in a mysterious HADS variant at a late stage of story production to get Nardole out of the way.

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Roderick T. Long 4 months, 1 week ago

One of my favourite bits -- so underplayed that it's easily missed -- is when the apparently clumsy Friday quickly catches a falling dish in midair, thus revealing that his earlier bumping against Catchlove's chair was deliberate rather than clumsiness.

But otherwise, Friday was dreadfully underused. And the Queen was a bit over the top for my taste.

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Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago

At the end, when Missy asks the Doctor if he's alright and looks to his hearts, I swear Murray's music is eerily reminiscent of the sound effects that play over the Hartnell regeneration.

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Tom Marshall 4 months, 1 week ago

Isn't the music there just the Death in Heaven Missy theme?

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Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago

Initially, yes, but then it turns into what sounds like the ramping up of the TARDIS engines in the closing moment/s.

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Daibhid C 4 months, 1 week ago

(Why did the TARDIS take off, other than Gatiss apparently not wanting to write Nardole? Why wouldn’t it go back? Why is she so worried about the Doctor?)

I suspect at least some of that may All Make Sense In The FInale, unless Moffatt has decided not to write his final season like that, which I find unlikely.

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Daibhid C 4 months, 1 week ago

Oops, I meant to italicise the quote, not bold the whole thing. I'll take that as a sign I should get some sleep.

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theoncominghurricane 4 months, 1 week ago

I don't think it will, because as far as I got it it thinks it already has: it left purely because if this was how the Ice Warriors became part of Peladon and the beginning of the Martian Golden Age, it's probably a fixed point in time and the TARDIS often leaves those alone

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Harlequin 4 months, 1 week ago

I think we're going to get an explanation, at least. I suspect either the Tardis leaving of her own will (perhaps for the reason you suggest) or being manipulated by Missy.

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Przemek 4 months, 1 week ago

I just assumed, based on the ending, that the TARDIS wanted to avoid a paradox. The Doctor had to stay on Mars long enough to create the "God Save the Queen" message which made him go to Mars in the first place.

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5tephe 4 months, 1 week ago

Look - patchy and problematic for all the reasons people have mentioned above, but this so far exceeded my expectations for a Gatiss episode that I really enjoyed it.

I think that if you were to give the proper political critique that Victorian Colonialism deserves, you'd a) have to take at least three episodes to scratch the surface, and b) end up with a pretty dire and dark stretch of Doctor Who. (Although that would still make it better than the three parter we just suffered through.)

All of which is probably the very reason you shouldn't attempt A Victorian Romp in Doctor Who. But if you're going to do it, give it to Gatiss, and let him set it on Mars.

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Kazin 4 months, 1 week ago

At the very least, this episode seems to imply that Rona Munro will be writing for the Master again :D

I liked it. Going back over the list of Gatiss episodes, there's only a few that I think are really bad. I like his Capaldi era episodes the best, I think (Sleep No More is at least an interesting failure, not a bad, boring one like Idiot's Lantern).

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Derik 4 months, 1 week ago

>>Jill, who’s never seen a Peladon story, initially thought Alpha Centauri was going to turn out to be a front for some season-culminating evil.

Is it too late to vote for this? The series ends when Alpha Centauri... PULLS A GUN?
(The shoots the Doctor and apologizes profusely through the entire regeneration in increasingly histrionic tones.)

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BeatnikLady 4 months, 1 week ago

Interesting change in tone from the three-parter and in general I quite liked it. It is politically too simplistic (but almost all Doctor Who - and most mainstream series, in fact, are. Moffat-era stuff is no different.) I had predicted more violence and bloodshed before the peace settlement at the end, so the fact that there weren't more deaths was quite pleasing. I was also relieved that the Empress was played in a semi-restrained way - compared to, for example, the Empress of the Racnoss. You could imagine her as someone who might lead her people to a better future.
A tribute to 1970s Doctor Who? I don't know. I'd say it was basically Mark Gatiss doing the kind of thing he enjoys and making something of it.

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Przemek 4 months, 1 week ago

I really liked it. The main idea was good and the execution was fun. Especially coming after last week's disaster "The Empress of Mars" was a pleasure to watch. Not a brilliant episode but a fun one.

I think the various problems with this episode's portrayal of the Victorian era people pointed out here exist mostly because it's not really set in the Victorian era. It's set in the realm of pop culture Victoriana. Gatiss is clearly playing with action figures here. And it's all good fun of the sort 11-year-old me would probably declare "the best episode EVER!" (and the adult me really enjoyed as well)... but it's not particularly well-suited to the task of critiquing the morality of the era.

I didn't mind Nardole not really being in this episode but I do think it's a shame "The Empress of Mars" pretty much threw his characterization out of the window. After weeks of him scolding the Doctor for not guarding the Vault more carefully he just... lets Missy out? The weirdest part of it all is, this would've worked in the previous episode. The Earth is conquered, the stakes are really high... it would make sense to use a dangerous but valuable asset like Missy then. But here? The whole situation just didn't feel dire enough to justify such a move. Like I said, a real shame.
(And yeah, I also didn't get the last scene with Missy. What was that weird music and dialogue about?).

I also wanted to add that having seen none of Pertwee episodes, me and my girlfriend initially thought that the Alpha Centauri bit was a build-up to some strange plot twist, like maybe that was Missy's voice, just distorted. But then the... one-eyed monster... showed up and it looked like an old special effect so we decided it was probably some sort of reference to the old series. But it definitely stood out from the rest of the episode.

Oh, and the "turn-people-into-cubes" guns were cool. In the trailer the effect just looked a bit silly. But in the episode itself it was strangely creepy. Very cool.

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Lewis Maddo 4 months, 1 week ago

>After weeks of him scolding the Doctor for not guarding the Vault more carefully he just... lets Missy out?

Annoyingly, this could've been handled better if only they'd given an extra scene or two to Nardole and the Vault. Hard to fit it into the episode without interrupting the main action, but we maybe should've seen more of Missy and Nardole discussing whether or not she should be let out, etc. Nardole wavering on what to do; Missy bargaining with him; just something!

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BeatnikLady 4 months, 1 week ago

There is an unfortunate pattern of companions having trouble using the Tardis when the Doctor isn't there. I suppose Nardole hasn't really had much chance to learn, but he is made to look strangely helpless. Having said that, the sight of Missy standing by the Tardis controls in a faux-innocent way was quite an effective way to hint at what might happen next.

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Kaan Vural 4 months, 1 week ago

I thought it wasn't that Nardole was having trouble piloting the TARDIS, given the controls moving by themselves, but rather that it was being taken over by an external force - Missy, I assume.

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UrsulaL 4 months, 1 week ago

Regarding the two new spacesuit designs, I suspect Moffat is having a strong housewifely urge to leave things in good order before he moves on.

The Doctor has a fresh new set of regenerations, no looming crisis of running out, because Moffat chose to push the issue by adding the War Doctor. He's gone out of his way to break down barriers that he found objectionable - there is now no question that the Doctor is a sexual and romantic being, and that he can regenerate without limits on race or gender.

The same thing with the spacesuits - after watching the budget for most of his tenure, and frugally reusing the old design, he's leaving his replacement with a variety to choose from and modify as needed.

The house will be left swept clean and tidy, with flowers on the table for the new owner, and fresh milk in the fridge, along with a kettle ready to go by the stove and tea, sugar and cups laid out, so the new owners feel welcome moving in.

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