Before The Flood – New Who Season 9 Episode 4 Review

Spoilers upcoming, though I shouldn’t have to say that here.  By now we all know how this works.

I finished watching the last episode and the ending has been bugging me.  I feel as though we’re going to do some kind of timey wimey cheat, but maybe I should give it the benefit of the doubt.  We’ll see.  This time we’re going to see how the Doctor winds up dead…

We’re starting the episode off with the Doctor talking to the camera and telling a cute little story about Beethoven.  It’s kind of cute and kind of freaking me out all at the same time, if that’s possible.  But we get to see Capaldi with a guitar again so I’m happy… even if the opening didn’t make any sense.

Back to the 80s (or so the Doctor tells us) and we get to see Ms. Professional have a me-style freakout about the size of the TARDIS interior.  She also seems to drop a hint about a maybe-upcoming episode?  Anyway, I’ll skip that for now.  We’re here to visit the spaceship before the area had flooded.  Everything is intact and we find out it’s actually a hearse.  We also meet our live version of the first ghost from the last episode.  Everything seems to be “normal” and non threatening…

Flash to Clara.  Ghost-Doctor is outside the ship repeating all of their names.  Clara’s phone rings and it’s the liver version of the Doctor.  This could get confusing… She’s a dummy and tells him that he dies, thereby solidifying this as the “real” future.  He’s visibly upset, but manages to get a crack in about this regeneration  being “a bit of a clerical error anyway”, and I love that he finally addresses that.  Clara has a meltdown and I swear her eyes are bigger than the rest of her head.

The body disappears from the ship in the past and the writing appears on the wall of the inside of the craft.  The first person is killed off and (we assume) turned into a ghost.

Clara works with the Doctor to determine how he dies, but ghost Doctor comes in and lets the other ghosts loose before that happens.  Bit of back and forth and Clara’s group runs for the safe room.  Meanwhile the Doctor’s group heads outside and gets themselves cut off from the TARDIS.  O’Donnell manages to get herself separated from the group and killed.  It’s revealed (as if we haven’t figured it out) that the order the Doctor was repeating the names was the order in which they’ll die.  Clara’s name is next, and judging by the name of the next episode I suspect it’ll happen.

In the future ghost O’Donnell takes Clara’s phone (an iPhone, might I point out – product placement perhaps?) , and in the past the Doctor is only able to move backwards in time a half hour.  So he’s stuck there with himself, trying to explain to his current travelling companion why we can’t fix things.  Meanwhile they need to stay out of sight.

Clara realizes that the translator (Lunn) can walk among the ghosts because he’s never seen the writing in the ship.  She’s clever, but I figured that out when they didn’t hurt him the first time they had the chance, and I’m sure most people reading this got it too.  Does that make us cleverer?  Of course she’s correct.  That doesn’t stop them from locking him

The Doctor decides to accelerate things by chasing after the Fisher King (the guy wrapped up in the hearse).  Idea being if he can change the order of the deaths then Clara can be saved.  Only she decides to leave her protected little room to chase after the guy who hasn’t returned.  It’s very much a “Carl stay in the house” moment.  Anyway, running, filler, flashing between Clara’s group and the Doctor’s and then we see the Doctor has taken the power cell out of the ship to blow up a dam.  Guess we know how the water got there.

The wall of water smashes into the Fisher King just as his stasis chamber is opening next to Clara in the future.  Our bumbling hero bounds out of it.  That’s a time lord win I believe.  The ghost Doctor lures the ghosts into the chamber down the hall and the actual Doctor locks them in.  So I get how we have a clean type ending, but we still haven’t addressed the issue of “dead Doctor”.  3 seconds later we do.  It was a hologram.  Anyone guess that?  Come on, I know some of you did.

I’m getting a little sick of the sonic glasses.  I know they’re trying to give the screwdriver a break because it was turning into a magic want but this?  This is so much worse.  Cool for an episode or two, but not unlike the fez it’s something that should be used sparingly.

We then have a little wrap up of loose ends (like explaining how UNIT will take the ghosts), a pep talk from Clara and a declaration of love.  A basic fairy tale ending.  Not sure how I feel about that, but I guess I don’t really get a say.  I was really thinking (hoping?) Clara would die in this episode.  The season isn’t over and I’m a few episodes behind so I’m sure we’ll see it happen sooner or later.

Under The Lake – New Who Season 9 Episode 3 Review

Okay, okay, I know I’m way behind.  I don’t know what I’d do without a PVR.  Seriously I’ve had no time on my hands but have some serious catching up to do.  I’m going to try and work my way through some episodes as best I can.  I’ve even been avoiding Twitter so I don’t accidentally see anything about an episode.  Here we go with Under the Lake! – Spoilers!!!

A mysterious craft and some shadowy figures on an underwater base is always a good start to the show.  A character needs to die for us to realize we’re dealing with ghosts?  I’d like to think we’re all a little smarter than than.

Meanwhile back at my place I have a cat sleeping (and drooling) on my arm.  It makes it very difficult to type…

Après-credits (that’s right, my French is “awesome”), our heroes come along with an apparently unhappy TARDIS.  Clara wants some adventure and the Doctor seems to be right there with her.  I think this is a “be careful what you wish for” sort of situation.  But we run into the ghosts without incident and then arrive at the… ummm… spaceship?

Yes, the alien has confirmed the craft is alien.  Good.  Right.  On with it then.  So we now have ghosts that can wield weapons and in the general run-for-your-life scenario our dynamic duo meet up with the live portion of the crew.  Standard explanations ensue, and our ghosts now appear to be something else which only comes out at night.  Thankfully it’s “morning” in our dark scary underwater base and we can get on with our investigation.

On a side note, I love the fact that Clara has cards for the Doctor so he can be a little less… alien.  I’m really enjoying the back to “I don’t understand feelings” Doctor.  Also loving the fact that he gets so excited that he needs to calm himself down.  Clara seems to be getting overly excited as well.  She’s too at home as a companion, which may just get her killed this season.

We have some filler, the sub switches to night mode and we kill off an annoying character.  That means a close call with a ghost with a last second switch to day mode just in time for him to disappear.  All right, I take a bit of issue with this one.  It’s not like the group was trapped or there was another ghost blocking the exit.  They could have just run away.  But I digress…

They hatch a plan to catch a ghost but things go badly.  In the end of course the plan works out and all of the ghosts are captured.  The Doctor pops in and figures out what they want.  Some investigating leads to a stasis chamber from the ship and some more questions,  but the Doctor seems to figure it out.  Unfortunately the base starts to flood and he gets separated from Clara.  He and half he group jump in the TARDIS and head back in time to fix the issue.

Flash to Clara and the rest of the group who are waiting for his return.  We see another ghost, meaning someone died when they went to the past… and it’s the Doctor…

Okay, didn’t see that one coming.  Looks like we’re going to have plenty of multi part episodes this season.  I’d certainly rather see them do that and do a better job on the story than rush it.  And I really didn’t feel like there was a ton of filler here.  Looks like I can’t get to part 2 tonight, but I’m hoping before this week is out… and my cat is still drooling on my arm…

The Witch’s Familiar – New Who Season 9 Episode 2 Review

We all know how we left off with the season premier, so then we move on to the second part.

As the episode starts we see that Clara and Missy made it out alive, with Clara dangling by her feet from a rope and Missy crafting a spear and acting all crazy… I see potential here.  We all knew they weren’t going to be killed with such little fanfare as the previous episode, but I expected we’d have to wait a little longer to see them.  But Missy decides to tell a story about the Doctor, and we get a cameo from certain “old timers” (which made us original Who fans happy) before “giving it to the eyebrows”.  Guess that’s the feature we’ll be fixating on for Capaldi’s version of the character… seems about right.

The story Missy tells is a convenient way to explain how they used modified vortex manipulators to teleport away from the Daleks as opposed to getting disintegrated by them.  I must admit that this was a more creative explanation to getting away than I’d expected as well.  Anyway, we get some clever quips about pointy sticks, which I won’t wreck for you in case you want to actually watch the episode, and all this before the opening credits.

This is the happiest I’ve been with an episode in quite some time… At this point I’ve noticed it’s an episode written by Moffat himself.

Cut to the Doctor and he’s *angry*.  He still thinks Clara and Missy have been exterminated and he seems to want to take it out on Davros.  Next thing we know Davros is laying on the floor and the Doctor is running around in his half a Dalek armor like he’s in a bumper car.  At this point I’m picturing a set of bumper cars where the cars are the bottom half of Daleks.  I implore the BBC to make this happen!

Back to Clara and Missy investigating the sewers (really a nearly-dead-Dalek burial ground) and we get more antics as Missy pushes Clara in to see how big the drop is.  Can these two *please* have their own show?  I could watch this all day.

After a bit of filler the Doctor demands that Clara be brought back alive and safe, broadcast out to all the Daleks.  No mention of Missy, and she actually looks kind of hurt.  The takeover was short lived, as Colony Sarff appeared to capture him.

In the meantime Missy uses Clara as bait to kill a Dalek.  I’m still entertained by their interaction, but I noticed Missy said something about her daughter…  Anyway, more filler while Davros tries to lure the Doctor into his little trap.  Entertaining filler, but filler none the less.  We do get a bit of insight into how human the Doctor actually is, or seems to be.

Back to the dynamic duo, Missy has strapped Clara into a Dalek and gives her driving lessons.  We’re a bit full circle here, if you remember souffle girl from Clara’s introductions.  Clara’s unable to say her name, only “I am a Dalek” comes out, and she doesn’t seem to have much control over her weapons as she gets upset.  A lot of phrases come out as “Exterminate” and now I’m wondering if the Daleks have tried to say nice things over the years and it’s been “translated” to Dalek-speak.

We have a heart-to-hearts between the Doctor and Davros, who finally learns that the time lords are still alive.  He surprises everyone by telling the Doctor to keep his people safe.  There’s some shared laughter, some tears, and the good man question appears again.  Davros claims to be dying, and we all know the Doctor probably isn’t going to let it happen.  Oh look, he falls right into the trap.  Are we surprised?  Not this puppy…

So the regeneration energy is flowing, the Doctor is trapped, and all that energy is flowing out into Davros and the Daleks.  Lucky for him Missy had strolled back into HQ with Clara in tow, just in time to save the Doctor from himself.  Unfortunately, the damage was done… only not the damage you’d expect.  The Doctor trapped himself on purpose to make the Daleks mortal.  It means the generations of Daleks that were mush in the sewers have now been regenerated and are coming back for revenge.

Missy tries to tall the Doctor that Clara (in the Dalek armor) is the Dalek that killed Clara.  Of course he sees something is off and shows her how to open the casing.  And away we go to try and make an escape.  Except for Missy, who was told to run.  No sonic screwdriver for the Doctor, since he left it with Davros years before, but he has sonic sunglasses.  Seriously?  I really hope this is short lived.

So he goes back and saves Davros as a child and teaches him the concept of mercy, so that Clara can use that concept to trigger the Doctor’s suspicions so he can save her.  It’s all very circular and tied together quite well.

All in all I was happy with this episode, even though it posed a lot of questions.  Does the Doctor now have unlimited regenerations?  Will we see Missy again? (of course we will) How long will those stupid sunglasses last?  And will we ever see a Missy/Clara spinoff?  I’d love to hear the opinions of others…

Doctor Who Spinoff

The BBC has announced a Doctor Who spinoff.  I’m not sure how I fill about it.  Here’s the article:

BBC Three today announces Class – a new 8 x 45 minute Doctor Who spin off from the acclaimed YA author, Patrick Ness. Class is a YA series set in contemporary London. Incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space, and with darkness coming, London is unprotected. With all the action, heart and adrenalin of the best YA fiction (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games), this is Coal Hill School and Doctor Who like you’ve never seen them before.

Steven Moffat says, “No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain – but with monsters!”

On his first television series, writer Patrick Ness says, “I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.”

Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three adds, “We’re excited to give Patrick Ness this opportunity to work with us at BBC Three and the Doctor Who family. Patrick understands young audiences and I’m delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three. BBC Three will always innovate and offer opportunities for brilliant new talent.”

Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, adds, “I am thrilled that Patrick Ness is writing his first drama series for BBC Three. The combination of Patrick and Steven Moffat, is an exciting partnership that has created a brilliant Doctor Who spin off for our BBC Three audience.”

Class is executive produced by Steven Moffatt, Patrick Ness and Brian Minchin. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three and Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning.

An 8 x 45 minute series produced by BBC Cymru Wales in association with BBC Worldwide for BBC Three.

The series will film in and around Wales from Spring, 2016 and be on air next year.

Now, if this is like Torchwood started off we can talk, but otherwise I’m a little leery…

The Magician’s Apprentice – New Who Series 9 Episode 1 Review

Our favorite show has returned to the air, and with it a return to the blog.  I think I’ll be trying to write this while watching it live, so there won’t be as much careful thought as I’m used to putting into the blog.  However, I find it much more fun to do it this way.  Before starting the episode I watched interviews with Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi, and am amazed at the respect all of these people seem to have for each other.

Anywho, here we go!

We’re starting out on a battlefield with a child running around.  and it’s not long before we have a scene that looks like something out of a zombie movie.  But then the Doctor comes to the rescue… until the child says his name is Davros.  Then he just looks horrified.

After the credits we meet Colony Staff, and he reminds me of something… something in Harry Potter maybe?  Anyway, he pays a visit to the sisters of the flame to threaten the Doctor.  I feel like this could be interesting…

Ah, there’s Clara!  The planes stop in the sky and Unit calls Clara?  This is new… But it makes sense.  And Missy is back!

Clara doesn’t seem that shocked to see Missy.  She must be tougher than she used to be.  Missy claims to asking for Clara’s help because the Doctor is in danger.  She says that the Doctor is on his last night and then he’ll die.  Clara knows how to find him and cooperates.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

So they find the Doctor and I have to admit that seeing Peter Capaldi with a guitar is kind of awesome.  There’s some time killing and then Colony Staff turns into a snake.  I’m still very confused, and we’re halfway through the episode.  But then Colony Staff throws the screwdriver down and it all makes sense even before it’s explained.  He left Davros to die.  He made Davros.

So the Doctor is collected, Missy and Clara are taken with him, they left a tank behind and the TARDIS is grabbed by the Daleks… I’m starting to feel like they’re just throwing in things we know:

Cole Hill School, Missy, UNIT, Colony Staff, the Shadow Proclamation, Daleks, Davros, Sisters of the Flame… have I missed anyone?  Seriously!

So on the ship the Doctor is taken away to see Davros and we get a nod back to the previous Doctors.  Meanwhile Missy and Clara escape to “space”.  Turns out we’re on Skaro and Missy’s just going to decide to pair up with the Daleks.  They kill Missy and Clara, and destroy the TARDIS.

Personally, I don’t feel like any of this is real, but hey, what do I know?

This episode was mostly filler, and then some serious plot mixed in.  I enjoyed it, and it felt like the hour passed quickly.  However, I think I’ll have a lot of complaints on rewatch.  What did everyone think?

Out Of Bounds

Watching this episode right now!


The Book Of Kells Audio Book Review

Doctor Who: The Book of Kells (Doctor Who: The New Eighth Doctor Adventures)Doctor Who: The Book of Kells by Barnaby Edwards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It had been a while since I’d listened to one of these audio books and had kind of forgotten where I was in the story line. Having said that, this episode had enough twists to keep me entertained. I’m not quite sure what I think of Tamsin yet, but I definitely don’t like her as well as Lucie. The ending is definitely intriguing and I wonder where they’re taking it.