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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Janine
    November 7, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

    Yeah, this one was… not bad. I can’t find much in the way of things to complain about, but equally I can’t find much to praise. I certainly agree with your assertion that the Shadowkin are unexpectedly poor for the Big Bad, and I hope something else does take their place. I spent the whole episode debating whether they’re really cool or really shit, and I’m sticking with the latter until I get evidence to the contrary.

    I’m so pleased they’ve bagged Pooky Quesnel as Dorothea! I adore that woman. So much charisma.

    I’ve loved Quill to bits, and by the sounds of Detained and The Metaphysical Engine, the next couple of episodes after this two-parter will start to explore her as a part of the plot. I really hope the second half of this series is as good as it looks to be.

    At the end of the day, my biggest fear right now is that Quill will become a villain (even a sympathetic villain would anger me) and Charlie will have to stop her, and, ugh, I don’t think I’d come back for Series 2. I absolutely despise Charlie. He’s condescending, basically classist, and not to mention he’s more or less a slave-driver, and for that reason I love Tanya’s outburst. Heck, there is literally no way his treatment of Quill can be allowed, and I hope to God that his sexuality doesn’t get in the way of Ness exposing what an utter prick he really is, and giving Quill, the revolutionary, the story she deserves.


    • Tom Marshall
      November 7, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

      I like that they made him a prick, though (particularly this week, and fairly deliberately too).

      I also like the nod in Ep 1 to the fact that the Doctor would never criticise Quill for being a freedom fighter (with the tacit understanding that if he had wandered into Rhodians v Quills, he’d have been on her side and Charlie would have been the villain). It was only because she has a somewhat skewed ethical compass that allows her to kill innocent students that pissed the Doctor off. That bodes well.


      • Janine
        November 7, 2016 @ 4:20 pm

        Oh, yeah, I definitely agree. I’m just kind of worried that Ness doesn’t think he is a prick – I’m getting real “misunderstood hero” vibes from him which, if that’s the case, no.

        And yes, that’s what I’m clinging on to. If they bring back Capaldi, even better. Though at this stage the show has a strong set of characters, so it’s not obligatory.


    • Riggio
      November 8, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

      Very much agree with your points here. I quite love what they’re doing with Charlie, revealing the parts of his personality that fit the fact that he was raised as a monarch with absolute power. Far from being sidelined, I find that Tanya and Matteusz play a small but important role in Charlie’s development this episode. He considers his treatment of Quill as well as his actions and responsibilities as monarch entirely justified. But it’s his black friend whose parents were raised in British colonies who reminds him that he’s essentially enslaved her. And it’s his boyfriend whose family grew up in a communist police state (How easy is it to forget these days that Poland is less than three decades removed from having a vibrant and violent secret police?) who tells him how undemocratic his morality is.

      I actually found that the episode’s whole storyline is structured around a three-way parallel of Corakinus, April, and Charlie on the question of absolute power and the use of violence. Piggybacking as usual, more details are at my review. 😉


      • Tom Marshall
        November 8, 2016 @ 2:19 pm

        Just wanted to say I have been reading, and very much love, your Class reviews. Always on point.


  2. Tom Marshall
    November 7, 2016 @ 2:56 pm

    Again seems fair, though I think the Ram/April intimate scenes are hampered by Hopkins just being quite a bit more naturalistic than Elsayed.

    I do agree that we’ve yet to have something that makes you sit up and go “well, that’s new!!!” – which is no huge criticism after a mere 4 episodes of something that’s more or less relaunching Buffy for people who are too young to have ever seen Buffy before – but on the other hand it would be good, as you say, to have something of that kind in the back half. For pure innovation. A mini-classic of that ilk would be nice.

    Episode 6, with its “detention turned into being trapped in no-time, no-space” synopsis and Episode 7, with its inspired title “The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did” both sound a bit more exciting than “killer flower petals and Shadow Realm” (though that may be fun along the way).

    What do you think of the, well, “class” dimensions to it? It’s mostly through the sci-fi prism right now (e.g. the Rhodian culture, Charlie and Quill’s different perceptions of it, slavery, the black one and the immigrant one being the ones who call this out, Rhodian/Rhodesian, Charlie as imperialist, etc., all of which parallels Corakinus as an imperious ruler to his own underlings) – but I think it’s a shame the show hasn’t really touched on class issues in the real world… everyone is very middle-class and comfortable, really.

    Also I don’t think Dorothea is so much the big bad as the big bad henchman. The Governors, surely, are going to be the big bad.


    • Daibhid C
      November 8, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

      Still haven’t quite given up hope that the governors are good guys and still chaired by I. Chesterton.

      Did anyone else get a sort of Missy vibe from the new headMistress, or was that just me?


  3. John G. Wood
    November 7, 2016 @ 4:10 pm

    Finally caught up enough to comment! So far, only one episode has really grabbed me (Nightvisiting), but that was true of Torchwood too at this point (Ghost Machine, for that show). And I certainly like the characterisation better here. My daughter May and I are both kind of sorry that all the older teens are pairing off with each other, and particularly sorry they all get straight to the sex rather than, you know, having some representation for the people who don’t (Tanya doesn’t count). But that’s kind of expected.

    In a similar vein, neither of us was happy with what they did with April’s mum. As soon as it was clear that she was regaining the use of her legs, May said in a pretty annoyed way, “well, there goes the disability representation” – and I have to agree. We saw nothing of what it was actually like for April or her mum living like that before you get to the magical cure (even if that cure comes at a price, which it looks like it might).

    Still, it has built up enough goodwill for us to keep watching, at least for the rest of this series. Beyond that…well, hopefully it’ll have had a few more sparklers by then.

    My rankings so far:
    1. Nightvisiting
    2. Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart
    3. The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo
    4. For Tonight We Might Die


    • Janine
      November 7, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

      Agreed on the disability representation. I totally related to April, a character caring for a disabled mother, but where mine grew slowly worse with her degenerative illness, April’s got a magic cure. It’s a bit insulting, really.


      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        November 7, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

        I’m witholding judgment on that until we see what the consequences are and how it plays out. Certainly it’s a twist that could leave a sour taste, but I don’t feel like I can judge based on the handful of minutes we’ve got of it so far.


        • Janine
          November 7, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

          Yeah, I mean, who knows how it will go.

          If anything, the show’s just scaring me at this point with the uncertainty of what the next few episodes hold. It’s either going to be an early Christmas present for every minority person ever, or one of those really bankrupt things we wish weren’t connected to Doctor Who.


      • Chris C
        November 7, 2016 @ 8:18 pm

        Er. Where are people getting the cure thing? It seems more like April just moved the Shadow Kin anchor into her mum somehow.


        • Elizabeth Sandifer
          November 7, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

          She moves her legs, and seems to stare at them in surprise. And is, I think, standing up in the trailer.


          • Tom Marshall
            November 8, 2016 @ 1:20 am

            Erm, she’s not standing in the trailer, since Shannon Murray (the actor) is actually wheelchair-bound. This is the aspect which makes me think there won’t really be much of a cure storyline at all.

          • John G. Wood
            November 8, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

            Well, that’s interesting, and (at the risk of sounding crass, given that this is a real person’s disability we’re talking about) somewhat hopeful for the storyline. It also illustrates Phil’s point about judging the first part of a two-parter before seeing the second.

            Having said that, I think first impressions are also useful to note (I still thoroughly enjoyed Under the Lake on first viewing, even though it’s now been poisoned by the wretchedness of Before the Flood). Based on the comments here, May and I were not alone in thinking April’s mum was being cured, and I wonder if the scene was simply pitched wrong for those members of the audience who didn’t know that Shannon Murray was wheelchair-bound. (I for one assumed that April was tyng her to the Shadow King so that she would be able to walk instead of him). And yeah, it was her reaction to her legs moving that cemented the idea in my mind, at least.

          • Tom Marshall
            November 20, 2016 @ 10:21 am

            This seemed to get answered this week, folks. Patrick Ness has been talking about it on Twitter.

            Someone tweeted him to say:

            “Sorry but I’m actually pissed because April’s mum is walking again I liked having a character in a wheelchair. We don’t get too see many disabled characters on tv, they’re always magically cured or were evil and able-bodied all along Btw, it’s not like I’m such a bad person who wishes people bad stuff. I’m just a wheelchair user, so this is important to me.”

            [which is more or less my position, apart from my not being a wheelchair user]

            Then he replied:

            “We cast a wonderful actress who uses a wheelchair. She was so good, I thought, let’s do the opposite of decades of able-bodied actresses playing disabled characters. Why not use FX to give a fine actress cool stuff to play? Genuinely, it was about smashing open doors for an actress, showing the stuff she could do. And letting an actress who happens to use a wheelchair the chance to take back decades of roles that went to able-bodied actresses. She was great. & there’s more to come. So that was my thinking. We cast a wheelchair user, loved her, wanted to smash forever the idea that any roles were closed to her.”

            FWIW, the person who made the first tweet seemed pretty happy with this explanation. And Shannon Murray [the actress] wrote in response, “just got home to read this exchange & it’s made me cry.” She seems pretty happy with the role and what it entails.

            What you think of Ness’ stance may vary.

  4. Rodolfo Piskorski
    November 30, 2016 @ 11:08 pm

    Adam and Countrycide were great!


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