elisi: (Twelve)
[personal profile] elisi
So, last week Promethia wrote about Knock Knock, which was great.

This week... Well, I've been trying to slowly re-boot my brain. This weekend is the first one where we've not been busy since - I'm not even sure. Anyway, it's not rebooted enough to actually write anything. I've been talking about it with Promethia, but since her brain is working, and mine is not, these are her thoughts. Roughly edited into different subjects areas.

Although TONIGHT I shall be sat in front of the TV, watching in real time and hopefully being able to flail shortly afterwards. :)

Anyway, what is under the cut is ALLLLL [personal profile] promethia_tenk. (Times like these it is VERY HANDY to hare your brain with someone else...)


There's something about the way that Bill's fear and revulsion at parts of the Doctor's lifestyle has been treated this series that is working fantastically for me. It's episode four and she's still going 'we need to leave' (very reasonably!) and having scarily realistic panic attacks, and I get why with most companions they just get one episode to get over their Earth Girl reservations and then are all gung-ho TARDIS adventurers, but Bill getting to be like this is so refreshing and healthy. It totally would not have worked if Bill and the Doctor didn't have a good six months of knowing each other before this. I hope they're going somewhere good with it.

Bill jumping around to test the gravity, like Twelve in Kill the Moon and Missy in The Magician's Apprentice is adorable. I just continue to find all her reactions to TARDIS travel things precious. Asking for reviews of star bases before she chooses one. This. The things she freaks out about. The questions she asks. It's all just so fresh and unexpected and firmly establishes her with a p.o.v. that's neither the Doctor's nor generic companion. Also her 'awe' face is the best. It's the one she gets when she finally turns around and sees the TARDIS in The Pilot. She does it again here when she sees the view out of the base window.

The suits that move themselves with dead people in them is, once again, very Library. And the way Bill's suit moves without her volition later reminds me of River in her space suit. I feel like there's still a lot of River echoes this season, and I'm debating whether that's a Thing or if it's just how very much River has associated with her. The thing is, I feel like the references are different now than they've been in the past. They're not allegorical, they're not symbolic (as much), they're not people repeating her lines. It's in the locations, the situations. The Frost Fair. A university. Spacesuits that move themselves. Next week we have the Church. Later this season there's a pyramid. The season nine finale went back to the diner from the Impossible Astronaut.

'Death where is thy sting?' <-- I assumed Shakespeare, but Corinthians 15:55, apparently.

[Note from elisi: Longer quote: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' Very apt. I like 'Death has been swallowed up in victory' that's perfect.]

Bill and Nardole both deciding to go back to the TARDIS is a lovely dynamic (also when Nardole takes care of her a bit when she comes around after the space walk). Likewise Twelve's explanation of why they have to stay 'the universe shows its true face when it asks for help. We show ours by how we respond.' The look on Bill's face after that!

'Do people ever hit you?' / 'Well, only when I'm talking!' <-- *snort*

Bill, continuing to ask the pertinent questions, realizes that the chamber is about to be decompressed. On Verity! someone compared Bill's insightfulness to Sherlock's: she notices the obvious details that no one else thinks to take account of and then connects the dots. Naturally this was deeply pleasing *g*

The whole sequence of Bill being exposed to the vacuum and the space walk was really effectively done. I like especially when all you can hear is her blood in her ears. And, of course, somewhere between when you see Bill in a helmet and you see Twelve without one, holding his arms out to her, and you realize what must have happened. It reminds me faintly of a scene in Cold War when the submarine is flooding and Clara slips under the water and falls unconscious and we stay with her perspective. This is far more harrowing, but Cold War was the episode where Clara's fear was most effectively explored too.

What the Doctor says to Bill before he abandons her to get zapped by her suit, it feels significant: "Bill, do you trust me? We're going to have to leave you here. You're not gonna die, but I won't lie to you: this will not be good. You will go through hell, but you will come through it, and I will be waiting on the other side." At the very least I'd say that is a significant companion moment, very much like Amy's journey through the underworld in ToA/FaS and the Doctor abandoning her in the woods. It's her initiation into his world, dying and rebirth, etc. But I'm feeling like this is maybe also foreshadowing in this case.

Bill calling out for her mother while she's dying: I'd say right there we pass companion background establishing and move on to 'this is a thing.' The notable/sad detail about it to me is that this isn't like Clara or Oswin talking to her mother. Clara knew her mother. Bill doesn't. She has, by her own admission, made her up, from a few spare details and a box of pictures. And that's what she has to cling to when she's dying. That is . . . heavy stuff.

Bill being dead/not dead, and the way Twelve talks about it. It's reminding me of something . . . Shakespearian I think. *snaps* Hero, in Much Ado About Nothing. They fake her death to make her fiance contrite for accusing her at the alter of cheating on him. It's not the situation so much as the language that's pinging for me--obviously someone being not actually dead is the most common trope in the book.

It just occurred to me that, beyond the fact that Bill is still allowed to be genuinely scared and hurt by the things she sees, she also has yet to have the standard early-season 'companion saves the Doctor and/or everybody, thereby proving her worthiness to be there to the Doctor, to us, and to herself' moment. It's episode five and Bill's had plenty of clever insights, but she's yet to jump in and outdo the Doctor. That feels notable. It's such a Nu-Who companion staple. I mean, I fully assume it will happen at some point, but the fact that it hasn't happened yet makes me wonder if there's something special in store.


I loved how both he and Bill were giving the Doctor a hard time here.

The cuddle was amazing. Nardole trying to do the head nuzzle thing and not being able to reach because of the suits. Nardole's pleased 'cuddle!' Bill's gleaming smile. It was the best.

I also love, once again, having another person around who is not a 21st century earth human and can bear some of the weight of dealing with things 21st century earth humans don't know. When the Doctor just throws a spacesuit chip to Nardole and says something like 'get me information' and Nardole knows exactly what he means and how to do it. You completely believe that they've been together for a very long time. (Also their argument at the beginning! So cute. 'Teach you to trust me!')

I'm gonna take Twelve and Nardole's argument about what sound space doors should make as another Trek shout-out.

Nardole's former girlfriend left him for an AI in a call center. These tidbits are hysterical. Also AI definitely seems to be a thing. It'll come up later too when the Doctor starts to question if the suits are developing sentience.

Also Nardole coaching Bill through her panic and helping her breathe is hysterical, morbid, and touching all at once? It seems to be a note they hit frequently with Nardole and I love it.

Nardole's anger at the Doctor at the end was brilliant. They've built his fear and frustration about what's going on so well.

[ETA: elisi's input. This exchange:

NARDOLE: Do you know what this is?
DOCTOR: If it's not crisps, you're sacked.
NARDOLE: Fluid link K57. Removed it from the Tardis the other night after your lecture.
DOCTOR: That is very untrusting.
BILL: What's a fluid link?
NARDOLE: No idea. But the Tardis can't go anywhere without it.
DOCTOR: Who told you that?
NARDOLE: You did.

You may not know this, but it's a shout-out to the very first proper episode, The Daleks. The Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian have traipsed about in an odd forest on the planet they have landed on, and spied a city in the distance. The Doctor wants to investigate. The others want to leave. Here is what happens next. Edited a bit:

(The Tardis starts shaking)
SUSAN: What's the matter? (checking a printout) K7.
DOCTOR: K7? Ah, yes, of course, the fluid link. Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
(Goes under the console and comes up with the part he took off earlier)
DOCTOR: Yes, there we are, you see. The end of it's unscrewed itself and the fluid has run out.
IAN: Have you got a spare?
DOCTOR: Oh, no, no need for that. This is easily repaired. All we have to do is refill it.
IAN: What liquid do you need?
DOCTOR: Mercury.
IAN: Mercury. Can I get it for you?
DOCTOR: No, I'm afraid you can't. We haven't any at all.
IAN: What?
IAN: Don't you carry a supply?
DOCTOR: No, it hasn't been necessary. This hasn't happened before.
IAN: But you must have some somewhere, surely.
DOCTOR: No, no. We shall have to get some from outside.
BARBARA: But where? There isn't anything outside because
IAN: Yes. There's the city.
DOCTOR: Yes, the city, of course. Of course we're bound to get some mercury there. Yes, we're bound to. Well, I mean, what else can we do, hmm?
IAN: It seems we have no alternative. We have to go to the city.
DOCTOR: Yes, indeed. At first light, then?

Tricks-y, even then. ♥]


Distress calls are the Doctor's 'theme tune'! You only really see the true face of the universe when it's asking for your help. <--- I like Twelve's very considered, principled statements of intent this season. No more 'I dunno, I'm just running around' (well, yes, he does that too, but there's a lot more care in explaining why he chooses to intervene when he does). No more 'am I a good man?' No pretending not to interfere. This is someone who knows what he's doing and why he's doing it. Well done, Clara.

The sonic being destroyed is a nice contrast to Twelve successfully saving it while the street urchin was sucked under the ice two weeks ago

Re. the blindness: First his memory and now this. I love it so much. I'm thinking of in Face the Raven, when Clara asks him why can't she be like him, why are they so different? And he tells her that they're not, he's just less breakable than she is. Less breakable. Not un-breakable, as he's so often depicted. Apparently Jamie Mathieson came up with the blinding thing and was going to have it reset at the end of the episode and Moff latched onto it and decided he wanted to keep it. It fits so well I assumed after watching the episode that Moff had asked him to write it to that point, not the other way around!

It had occurred to me earlier that Simm!Master/Missy are Tiresias, but the blindness is also important. And Tiresias was a prophet. The association of blindness with prophecy and with madness, both appropriate. And, of course, blindness being a frequent punishment or price in mythology. Owls and Nos were making fun of the Doctor for being melodramatic when we all know this won't be permanent and, yes, I fully assume he'll be cured relatively quickly just because the logistics of doing half a season with the Doctor blind are pretty dicey. But if he wasn't going to be cured soon, I would be totally on board with it. I joked that if he's been cursed by the gods, then maybe it will be 'permanent.' But, like, I'm not really joking. The show would find some 'scientific' explanation, but if he's going to stay blind the reason is that that is the price. It's like when Angels Take Manhattan aired and all of those people were complaining about why can't he just find some loophole to go back to New York and visit them and you wanted to shake them and go 'THE POINT IS THAT HE CAN'T. WHY DOESN'T ACTUALLY MATTER.'

Also he doesn't want Bill to know what he's sacrificed for her. Echoes of River and her wrist.

And I was thinking about Davros, who is blind with a third eye. And who opened his real eyes just before his 'death' so that he could see the sunlight and all the mirroring they did with the Doctor in those episodes.

I love that Twelve saving Bill in this way comes right after the episode we just had and its warning about protectiveness. Except that this was done just about as 'right' as you could. No grandstanding. No threats. No putting everybody else in danger or flirting with the destruction of all time. The Doctor's the one paying the price here, and if you can fault him for anything it's that he's also trying to shield her from any guilt she might feel about it and refusing help.

With Susan it was like the roles were reversed. She was the one who felt a ‘duty of care’ and the Doctor had to circumvent that so that she could have her own life. There's no way the Doctor keeps Bill from realizing this for long; I can't wait to see her reaction.

The Doctor's speech about why he's going to help them all featured prominently in the season trailer, and somebody pointed out that the trailer team cgi'd his eyes to keep us from being spoiled. It's a nice touch.

'Doctor, it wasn't your fault. You couldn't have saved her!' / 'You know what's wrong with this universe? Believe me, I've looked into it. Everyone says it's not their fault. Well, yes, it is. All of it. It's all your fault. So what are you going to do about it?' <--- I can't decide if this vein of thought is reassuring or terrifying. Both, probably.

'The nice thing about life is, however bad it gets, there's always one last option available: dying well . . . This is the moment you've been waiting for since the day you were born. Don't screw it up now!' <--- I have this horrible feeling this logic is going to come back for us later.

Capitalism is Evil/other

"Any unlicensed oxygen will be automatically expelled to protect market value." <-- That is truly one of the most terrifying lines I've ever heard.

"At current levels of exertion, you have two and a half thousand breaths available." / "Breaths! You couldn't just give it to me in minutes?" / "It doesn't work like that." <--- I like this metaphorically. Life as something you can use up faster or slower, not a simple ticking clock.

The beat where the suits can't get into the section of the station where the survivors are because they don't have a map--that feels like an idea that'll come back in the arc somewhere.

*forehead smack* Just realized that they all have a 'third eye' here: the HAL eye on their spacesuits. We're continually getting the suits' perspectives through this camera.

The suits saying 'you life is in our hands' while they kill you is some quality dark mirroring.

The Doctor's line about the human race finding a whole new mistake after capitalism was well-aimed.

Elisi's input:
Marx's theory of alienation
Karl Marx's theory of alienation describes the estrangement (Ger. Entfremdung) of people from aspects of their Gattungswesen ("species-essence") as a consequence of living in a society of stratified social classes. The alienation from the self is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of a social class, the condition of which estranges a person from their humanity.
The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realized human being, as an economic entity, this worker is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.
(Read the linked wiki article for more)


Look, original content! *g*

One reason my mind has not worked this week, is that THIS MOMENT from the trailer is pretty much all my brain has been able to focus on:


Combined with this Moffat quote, I am VERY MUCH looking forward to tonight:

”But it was my last chance to see how far you can bend this show before it breaks. Forgive the indulgence.”
Moffat on Extremis in DWM 512

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