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Doctor Who XXXVI/10 reviews: links to Empress of Mars and World Enough and Time

June 29th, 2017 (02:00 am)

I've not reviewed as regularly as I have done in previous years, but I might revisit the season later this year. In the meantime I've written two reviews for other sites:

Empress of Mars for the Doctor Who News Page
World Enough and Time for Timelines

The Doctor Falls to follow in the next few days - twice! Given the duplication of a certain character, this might be appropriate...

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2017/06/29/doctor-who-reviews-empress-of-mars-world-enough-and-time.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 29th, 2017 08:57 pm (UTC)

I thought Empress of Mars started well with great imagery, but didn't know what to do with it. The second half of the story seemed a bit dull and predictable, although I suppose predictability might be the point in a sub-genre aiming at nostalgic cosiness as more than innovation.

The twelfth Doctor's cultural ignorance is not unprecedented; in Last Christmas he had never heard of Alien, and found the concept racist.

Just how old is Alpha Centauri by the Peladon stories?!

I really liked World Enough and Time. Probably my single favourite episode so far this season, but I'll wait and see how it develops before passing final judgement. Great atmosphere - not so much space-Gothic as space-1940s, like The Beast Below, another episode I rate higher than most fans. It's a pity Moffatt hasn't done the war and pseudo-war more often, as he does it well; then again, he was also part responsible for Victory of the Daleks.

My enjoyment of the episode was despite my guessing a lot of the plot twists (despite not having seen as many spoilers as you) and despite my not really caring for the Cybermen or the Master, especially the John Simm Master, although if we do have to have both I'd rather the Mondasian Cybermen and the Michelle Gomez Master. Though having watched Terror of the Autons and The Mind of Evil again this week I'm not convinced that the Delgado Master is at all the same character as the Simm and Gomez incarnations.

What was the reference to Harold Saxon in Knock, Knock?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 29th, 2017 09:00 pm (UTC)

The Doctor lists Saxon as among the former prime ministers he asks the Landlord to remember.

Posted by: heliopausa (heliopausa)
Posted at: July 1st, 2017 05:52 am (UTC)

Thank you! The creepiness of the hospital reminded me of some other creepy hospital in a previous season - the idea of being helpless in the hands of a powerful medical system felt like a recurring nightmare. The cloth bags over the faces (if there were still faces left - Bill has an eye, at least) were very frightening indeed - it felt so makeshift, like (my imaginings of) first explorations of reconstruction on WW1 soldiers.

I absolutely agree with you about Bill's probable curiosity and making use of her time, though - ie that it was a flaw in the plot that nothing happened. Which makes for an interesting comparison with the "Amy waiting" story - where she totally takes command of her environment. I despise the ending of that story - it's a real betrayal, and the message feels like women have no right to take control and to grow - the innocent, untouched Amy is preferred and the older, self-sufficient Amy is destroyed. (That was the story which threw me out of watching Doctor Who, pretty much - at least until late Capaldi.) Bill emphatically wasn't given a plotline with such self-sufficiency - she waits, she is acted upon - and that's it. What happened to her made for very strong drama, and I appreciate that, but the cost to the overall sense of things, depending on what happens next (and I really don't see where it can go from here that isn't the end for Bill) might be too high, I think.

The Doctor deserves to fall.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 1st, 2017 01:03 pm (UTC)

In many ways the Doctor already has fallen, for the reasons you give; and you are quite right, as the set-up of the episode sees him dominated by hubris, with the charisma to carry his friends along with him. AS for what might follow, I can't say any more!