elisi: (12 and Bill)
[personal profile] elisi
Since Promethia wrote a fabulous post mining all the imagery, I am just sharing a few quick notes.

First of all a few bullet points:

- Bill will NEVER have a straight-forward date. Bless her.

- I never get tired of the Doctor poncing about on his private plane.

- Erica is just lovely. I'll be very cross if they kill her.

- The army captains being all Peace & Love and that then solving nothing? I LOL'd.

- The Doctor saying: 'Go on do a show of force!' was a very nice touch. He's still got that steel, and it’s good to be reminded that he has that warrior side, however much he doesn’t usually like to show it. (Also: Not a pacifist.)

- Ditto him being all ‘Not my first dead planet’. He has seen such destruction, and lived with having destroyed his own people for 400 years, it would be unreasonable for him to act shocked here.

OK, so like ¾ of this is Promethia’s. Been busy with Class (Episode 7 specifically). Hurrah for team work! (Especially when you can steal their work…)

The Doctor

One thing I really like about this episode is the undisputed assumption (on all sides) that the Doctor belongs to this world. I don't think there's another big alien invasion story that does quite the same thing: the Doctor is always around, always going to protect the earth, but I feel like always before there's been this acknowledgment that he's an interloper. He's swanned in again, but you can't assume he's going to stay. Heck, Kate Steward kidnapped him on the assumption that he would be unreliable. And, granted, he was kidnapped again here, but it's different somehow.

It might be the Monks, frankly. They never mention that he's an alien. There's no questioning of why he's there or what gives him the authority to represent earth (which I was totally waiting for for much of the episode). To them he's just the most powerful earthling.

Of course the Monks know the whole history of the Doctor on earth, having simulated it. But you can easily, easily see in another era them using the knowledge to get under his skin, Davros-style: what are you doing here, Doctor? What makes you think you have the right to speak for these people? etc, etc. But no. They've simulated the entire history of the earth and of course the Doctor belongs to the planet. It's a non-issue.

Some people have complained that Bill didn’t catch on that the Doctor was blind, but she literally asks Nardole what’s wrong. I’m not sure what more they want? They also complain that the Doctor doesn’t confess until the last minute, but he actually confesses or prepares to confess his blindness to Bill four separate times (oh, and look at that: confession! Definitely something he needs.).

The first time it's in the simulation and he doesn't actually say anything, just takes off his glasses, but I presume that was the intention. And I was really pleased when that scene started that he was realizing so quickly that the time for vanity was over. Then, of course, we find out none of it's real and he's basically figured out that it doesn't matter anymore. Still, a beautiful scene.

Then in this episode I was once again please/surprised that he seemed to be ready to tell her so soon and with so little pretext ('Nardole sent you to speak to me, didn't he?') And he admits that he's scared to tell her and being silly before he gets interrupted by the pyramid spewing tractor beams. Then he decides to tell her before the generals run off to sell the planet because, ok, things are getting a bit dire and he needs to tell her 'the truth' (Without hope, without witness, without reward? Oh! I bet we end up with Bill/Twelve parallels before this is over. Will Twelve saving Missy end up being as disastrous as Bill saving Twelve? Well, that's a rhetorical question, of course it will. His intention was pure, but he is being an idiot.) And he's interrupted by a brilliant idea (TM).

And then, finally, he finally has to tell her… ‘in extremis’, literally.



Bill

There is a nice parallel between the Doctor using that Time Lord machine to trade some unknown thing from his future to get his sight back for a few minutes with Bill trading the whole human race (not knowing what this means) to give him his sight back in this episode.

But more than that, this was The Wedding of River Song ALL OVER. The Doctor had to die or the world would go to pot. River/Bill refused, world went to pot. Except he seems a bit more doomed here? Could he regenerate after being blown up?

Drilling into it a little deeper, then *why* did Bill do what she did? Save the Doctor but doom the world?

Well it helps to consider what the Doctor means to her.

Bill is an orphan, who never even knew her mum, who has a foster mother so oblivious that she hasn't even noticed Bill is gay, and whose life was on a road to nowhere, serving chips.

And then the Doctor comes along, and first of all he picks her out of the crowd as someone interesting and smart enough to tutor, meaning that she can study the way she probably always dreamed. And then it turns out he's an alien and can show her all of time and space and have amazing adventures, but more than that he *cares*. He is nosy and overly helpful (see Knock Knocl) in the way of family, and not only does he even tell her to go get the girl she thinks is out of her league, but he sacrifices his eyesight for her in Oxygen.

How can you not only love that – having never had it before – but moreover surely it would make you desperate to keep it at any cost? Bill is quite passive, compared to companions past. Look at how she pleads to keep her memories, and then eventually just capitulates, resigned. She is not used to being allowed nice things.

Generally my heart just breaks. She is young, and suddenly the one – the only - person who really sees her, is about to be ripped away from her.

Like River, she can’t deal with it, and decides to save him whatever way she can. No matter the price… (in a pyramid. Isn’t it wonderful?)



The Monks/story structure

ETA: The Monks are a mirror hall of Time Lords traits. They have red robes, they run insanely powerful computer programmes that can, essentially, predict the future. Their spaceship has something like a chameleon circuit. And, judging from next week, they can manipulate time and space. We also know they can change form. So that is... interesting.


We don’t often get three-parters. And especially not ones that start out as meta as these three. Here is how it all hangs together:

Ep 6: Here is a concept
Ep 7: Now let's put it into action (the whole world in extremis)
Ep 8: The fallout

Re. being in extremis... In the game, people killed themselves to leave the game because it wasn't real. Now people are prepared to give up their free will to stay alive, because it's real.

However, the episodes could also be seen like nested layers? A simulation in the 'real world' in an AU. Slightly different than dreams within dreams, but similar structure. And someone on Tumblr pointed out that Extremis and this episode actually work similarly in that both involve two parallel stories, seemingly unrelated, that we're jumping between and a lot of the tension of the episode is in waiting to see how these disparate strands come together. I wonder if the third episode will do the same?

And if the trilogy is a bit like the same thing in macro: three very different-seeming episodes (that could technically all be happening in parallel even if we're seeing them in sequence) that then come together? That would be brilliant. Bet you the next episode starts with Bill on a date with Penny. Bonus points if somehow the Monks have to be defeated in all three levels of reality at once (technically we never saw what happened to simulation!Doctor because our information cuts out when he hits send.)

Also thinking about how the true danger of being in a simulation is that someone else controlling your reality means that they are able to take away your free will--whether you run on atoms or bits is of no consequence . . . unless someone else is controlling the bits. The next time trailer suggests that the Monks don't just move in and establish a new world government or something: somehow they have always been here. How do they do that? It's like somehow reality is a simulation as well and they're able to throw a switch and suddenly things have always been this way.

All this also made me think of Fascism arrives as your friend - bit of a long shot you may think, but considering how the next episode looks like 1984, maybe not. Remember (spoiler alert!) Winston ends up loving Big Brother…

The ‘love’ thing is important too. It sounds as if the Monks require people to love them, but it turns out that people’s *motives” have to be pure (based on love). If you think this is silly, please remember that Moffat Who isn’t sci-fi proper, it’s a fairy tale. And this fits perfectly. Much like the characters in Once Upon A Time might try ‘Love’s True Kiss’ to solve a problem, thus it’s nicely logical for the Monks to require ‘a pure heart’ upon which to build the empire…

So bring on 1984 – I mean ‘The Lie of the Land’! Especially since it looks like it’s drawing on The Year That Never Was and TwoRS. :D



ETA: 1) From Tumblr: 'The Monks’ offer, give us your consent (your love/trust) and the aliens will save the world (their world, now), is not… is not a million miles from what the Doctor does, either.'

2) Via [personal profile] enevarim: From Phil Sandifer's interview with Peter Harness about The Pyramid at the End of the World: Not only was the in-error chemical that nearly destroyed the world actually developed in the real world and only one clever scientist away from being released and destroying all plant life on the planet (there was a release plan for it and everything, if not an automatic venting system on a thirty-minute timer), but the original script featured not the three military leaders but (fairly obvious stand-ins for) Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, and Kim Jong Un.

(no subject)

Date: 1 June 2017 06:06 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
The Doctor saying: 'Go on do a show of force!' was a very nice touch. He's still got that steel, and it’s good to be reminded that he has that warrior side, however much he doesn’t usually like to show it. (Also: Not a pacifist.)

I know a bunch of people felt this was out of character for the Doctor, but to me it felt so casual it was as if he already knew it wouldn't work but felt it was worth a try just to see how the monks would respond. He was essentially running a simulation of his own.

How can you not only love that – having never had it before – but moreover surely it would make you desperate to keep it at any cost?

That is a very good point.

But fundamentally, Bill had to make the decision as to whether the Doctor dying would actually rid the world of the monk problem or whether he should be saved to fight another day. She probably made the wiser decision. She has known the Doctor long enough to know he solves problems, so she trusts him to do that. But she has no real history of taking orders from him so she doesn't trust him when he tells her to let him die. A more experienced companion probably would have let him die, Bill's newness maybe saved him at whatever the cost will turn out to be.

(no subject)

Date: 1 June 2017 10:53 pm (UTC)
owlboy: by me (DW - otp of murder)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
I wish I had something eloquent to contribute but all I can do is sob into my weetabix over Missy/12.

(no subject)

Date: 2 June 2017 07:04 am (UTC)
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beer_good_foamy
The ‘love’ thing is important too. It sounds as if the Monks require people to love them, but it turns out that people’s *motives” have to be pure (based on love). If you think this is silly, please remember that Moffat Who isn’t sci-fi proper, it’s a fairy tale. And this fits perfectly. Much like the characters in Once Upon A Time might try ‘Love’s True Kiss’ to solve a problem, thus it’s nicely logical for the Monks to require ‘a pure heart’ upon which to build the empire…

The bit I really have trouble with so far is just how insubstantial the Monks' motivation for the whole "consent" thing seems. They can't rule by fear, since that will just make people hate them and fight against them, so they want to rule in the name of the people instead; fine, there's a reason that works frighteningly well in real life. But populism requires a populace. Scaring one person out of seven billion into making this decision isn't going to fix the problem.

And it's not like Moffat hasn't tackled this before. That fantastic scene in "Kill the Moon" of Clara asking people to vote - and billions of people turning off their lights (and TV sets) as if to say "We know you have to do something horrible in our name, fine, just don't make us watch you do it so we have to hold ourselves accountable." He could have easily done something similar here; just pick something that actually noticeably threatens the entire world, quick cuts to a family in London, a family in Kuala Lumpur, a family in Nuuk... Instead he chose an apocalypse that only a handful of people know about, and to put both the audience POV, and the hopes of the Monks, squarely on the idea that everyone will accept Bill as the spokesperson for humanity. And I'm wondering why he did that. Maybe we'll find out tomorrow.

(no subject)

Date: 2 June 2017 11:26 am (UTC)
purplefringe: Amelie (Default)
From: [personal profile] purplefringe
Hi again! Am attempting to comment on All The Things before the next ep, so I can close some tabs. Despite lack of brain. (Promethia's glorious meta is next! Maybe this afternoon...)

The Doctor saying: 'Go on do a show of force!' was a very nice touch. He's still got that steel, and it’s good to be reminded that he has that warrior side, however much he doesn’t usually like to show it. (Also: Not a pacifist.)

Agreed with all of this – and as someone else said, this is the Doctor testing his own theory, running a simulation. But it’s ALSO a way of getting these three military leaders to work together. I’m pretty sure the Doctor knew their show of force would fail, but he also knew that getting them to put on a united front could be no bad thing…

There is a nice parallel between the Doctor using that Time Lord machine to trade some unknown thing from his future to get his sight back for a few minutes with Bill trading the whole human race (not knowing what this means) to give him his sight back in this episode.

Ooooh, I like it

She is not used to being allowed nice things.

Oh, Bill <3 Love all your character analysis here. I was also thinking – is Bill the first New Who companion who hasn’t had her first ‘saving the Doctor’ moment until midway through the season? All the other Companions get at least one big Saving the Doctor moment near the start (Rose and her gymnastics skills saving Nine from the Nestene, Martha giving up her last breath of air for him, Donna telling him to stop (though of course we don’t realise just *how* much that saved him until Turn Left), Amy stopping him from having to kill the Star Whale, Clara in the Dalek Asylum/on Akhaten, depending on where you want to start). They ALSO often get one big Fuck Up moment, where they accidentally doom the world and/or disappoint the Doctor (Rose saving her father and destroying time Martha inadvertently reawakening The Master, I can’t actually think of one for Donna or Amy but my memory is hazy. And Clara of course with the keys-in-the-volcano thing). Interesting that Bill’s Save the Doctor/Doom the World moment is one and the same (v like, as you say, River in TWoRS) and that the Saving part of that has come so late in the series. I like that what has won Bill her place in the Tardis is not that she’s a mystery, or that she’s somehow ‘earned’ it in payment for saving the Doctor’s life, but just that she’s clever and curious and has potential and she and the Doctor get on so well.

Fascism arrives as your friend. http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/i-sometimes-fear.html

I’ve been thinking about that poem a LOT over the past year /o\
Edited Date: 2 June 2017 11:27 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 3 June 2017 11:15 am (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
SHOW <3

OK, so like ¾ of this is Promethia’s. Been busy with Class (Episode 7 specifically). Hurrah for team work! (Especially when you can steal their work…)
This really is a good set-up. I can just blather, and then you decide what's suitable for company.

Except he seems a bit more doomed here? Could he regenerate after being blown up?
I can't imagine how he could. He's no Jack Harkness. And yet, if that's all it takes to kill a Time Lord right and proper, then I feel like the Silence and the execution planet folks have been wasting rather a lot of time.

Profile

elisi: (Default)elisi
August 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2017