Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Woman Who Lived - discussion the same night

It was fun seeing Maisie Williams in different looks and portraying a character that isn't a daughter fighting to overcome difficult circumstances.  Already such talent at such a young age.  I look forward to seeing her in other roles after Game of Thrones.

The story this week, however, was okay - not great, okay.  I might have preferred it had last week's episode not ended with a "to be continued" and this week's episode been placed later in the series.  It does seem like Ashildr is being set up to be brought back.  That could be fun to see.  Had this episode been placed later in the series, it might have been more exciting seeing her return.

That's all I have to say about The Woman Who Lived.  My favorite bit this week was seeing that next week we'll see the highly anticipated (by me) return of Osgood!  I've been a fan of that character since the 50th anniversary episode, and I can't wait to see her return . . . if she's human or Zygon or something not quite so simple.  Let's indulge in the trailer until next week: 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Girl Who Died - discussion the day after

One word sums up the last 8 minutes of The Girl Who Died - SQUEEEE!!!!!!!!!

You could feel the excitement and anticipation building as we saw the reflections of Peter Capaldi's face in the eel tanks.  Finally, we were going to get the link back to The Fires of Pompeii.  We would see how Stephen Moffat was going to explain why Caecilius and the 12th Doctor look like the same person.

The reason itself wasn't that interesting or surprising (I do hope it gets developed more as the series continues), but the way it was explained was fantastic!  It was so beautiful how the flashbacks to Deep Breath and The Fires of Pompeii were incorporated.  Storytelling at its finest!

Who didn't gasp and hold their breath as the 10th Doctor first appeared with that look to Donna?  And Donna!  The amazing Donna and her heartfelt plea to the Doctor to save someone.  Then seeing the 10th Doctor reach out to save Caecilius.  It was better than watching that episode the first time.

That entire sequence was my favorite bit of Series 9 so far.

In the last 8 minutes, we also saw more brilliant moments of acting from Peter Capaldi.  The introspective Doctor, who we don't get to see that often, elicits such emotion.  The monologue about losing people before the flashback sequence and then the questioning of his saving Ashildr . . . I don't know what to say.  The only way I can describe it is an emotional sigh.

Finally, the set up for future adventures with Ashildr was exciting.  I can't wait to see more of it next week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Before the Flood discussion/The Girl Who Died prep

Well I'm a bit slow this week in discussing the most recent episode, but the good news is, it's almost time for the next one, so I'm going to make this post a look back and look ahead!

Before the Flood
For once I was right, the Under the Lake/Before the Flood two parter is my favorite Toby Whithouse contribution to Doctor Who.  With back-to-back two parters and such a spectacle of a series opener, it was nice having a typical-feeling Who story: TARDIS drops Doctor and companion in an unexpected place.  Doctor and companion meet locals facing an unknown monster.  Tension between Doctor and locals on how to approach the situation.  All seems lost.  Doctor outsmarts the monster.

Okay, the hologram was predictable and a bit of a cop out, but I may be willing to overlook it because it was incorporated into the bootstrap paradox, and the Doctor gave an entertaining, straight to camera explanation of the paradox at the top of the episode.  The nerd in me loves it when science fiction incorporates science.  And this Doctor's more frequent bouts of educating the audience and speaking to camera is fun.

And more rocking out by the Doctor!  I truly want Peter Capaldi and Craig Ferguson to get their band back together.

The hints that Clara's getting carried away are being layered on pretty thick.  She's challenged again on how traveling with the Doctor may have made her more callus, and her pleads to the Doctor are screaming her unhealthy dependence on him.  I do like these themes, but I hope they take more subtle forms through at least some of the episodes this series.

That said, one of my favorite moments was at the end when Clara explains how you have to keep going after losing a loved one.  Such a sweet speech.  Not over the top or overly sentimental.  It had just the right tone and delivery to indicate understanding without being preachy.  It allowed us to think of Danny, feel a twinge, but then carry on.

The Girl Who Died
Moving on - I am very excited for the next episode, featuring our beloved Arya from Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams.  The pre-series teasers have implied that Maisie Williams' character may have some previous connection with the Doctor.  I would love for it to be a connection we know and not a connection from the Doctor's past that has just been written in this episode.  Actually, it'd be nice just to have it be a connection and not have been tricked by teasers taking things out of context again.  (I fall for it every time!)

Think there's any chance they'll throw in a Game of Thrones reference?  The reboot, particularly under Moffat, loves slipping in those under-the-breath one-liners acknowledging the real world.

In case you missed it or just want to watch it over and over, here's a trailer for this Saturday's episode.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Getting ready for Halloween

Doing anything for Halloween this year?  When I was a kid, I used to go all out, but as an adult, I don't do much, or if I do, I keep it low key.  But it is getting to that time when we need to start planning if we do want to do something.

Shameless plug - If you're like me and like to keep things simple, check out the shirts in the Reboot Whovian Teespring store for easy "costumes."  Even better, you can get use out of them on normal days, too.

Below are a few recommendations.  Check out the store for all available shirts, styles, and colors.

Your costume is the 12th Doctor commenting on his own costume.  Throw a long black coat over it to add some splash without much more effort:

Speaking of just putting on a different coat.  The Doctor's impenetrable disguise as the caretaker is captured on this t-shirt:

For something topical, give a nod to the Doctor's most recent costume addition - the sonic sunglasses:

If you can't decide which Doctor to represent, why not all of them:

On the topic of previous Doctors, remember when the 10th Doctor became human?  Why can't we just be a human for Halloween:

Even the 11th Doctor tried to fit in with the rest of us by putting on a jersey and playing football.

For a bit of mystery and mischief, no one is better than River Song.

If you prefer creepy and scary, try a hand mine.

Don't think we've forgotten about the kiddies and babies.

In any case, have a wonderful Who-lloween!  Although, when have we ever needed a holiday to celebrate Doctor Who?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Under the Lake - discussion the same night

It's another two parter!  This first part was more similar in pacing and content to traditional "part ones," so there's no uncertainty about how I feel.  I thought it was a solid episode with familiar elements from past episodes and an ongoing build of the Doctor and Clara's relationship.

More than anything, I loved the tone of this episode, and a huge contribution to that was Murray Gold's magnificent score.  I've been a fan of his work throughout the reboot.  I've even downloaded some of his pieces from iTunes.  Not sure what it was about this episode, but I particularly noticed how the music enhanced the emotion and pacing of this story.

We also got another glimpse of the sonic sunglasses.  I still like them, although pushing the bridge of the glasses isn't as dramatic a gesture as pointing.  But Peter Capaldi can pull it off and make it cool.  (See what Steven Moffat says about the sunglasses.)

The Doctor and Clara's relationship and chemistry - I feel like I'm constantly talking about it, and I suspect I will continue to do so throughout this series.  It's just going to keep getting better and stronger until her demise.  Yes, I said demise.  With all this build up and the growing attachment, of course she's going to have a tragic end (or is that the pessimist in me speaking?).

Full disclosure, in case you haven't gathered - Clara is one of my favorite companions, and I think Jenna Coleman is an incredibly talented actress.  As the Doctor is getting more and more attached to her, so am I.  I want her, the character and the actress, to have a worthy end, and I've been hoping it will be something positive for the character.  More of a "Rose" than a "Donna."

The coffee shop goodbye at the end of last series was lovely.  I'd take one of those.  Or even when we weren't sure if she would make it past Last Christmas, any of those almost endings would have worked for me.  If Clara had died, but it was because she had found that fake world where she and Danny could be together, it would have been okay.  Or if she had died of old age after a full life because the Doctor was late again, I would have been satisfied.  Now though, with their full throttle behavior, I don't think Clara will slip peacefully out of the Doctor's life.

Still, until then, we can enjoy the glory days of Clara and the Doctor.  These were some of my favorite moments this episode:

  • Did everyone notice how this time, it was Clara that told the Doctor to "RUN!"?
  • The continuing theme of Clara becoming more immersed in the Doctor's world and mindset is fascinating, especially with the Doctor's awareness of it.  He worries about her going native, and yet he loves it and her.
  • The way the Doctor looks at her makes my heart melt (kudos again to Peter Capaldi's amazing acting).
  • The flashcards on proper behavior that Clara made were hilarious and cute.
  • That moment when they're trapped and the Doctor has to leave her says it all.  I loved how that scene mirrored the one Deep Breath.  In both situations, the Doctor left because he had to, and he's going to save Clara, but all the details show how their relationship has developed.  Clara now trusts him and knows he won't abandon her.  The Doctor now wears his heart on his sleeve, but is still as brilliant and focused on the task at hand as ever.

I'm looking forward to next week and seeing how the dead ghost Doctor situation works out.  Toby Whithouse has written several episodes for the reboot, including The Vampires of Venice and School Reunion, but this two parter could be my favorite of his contributions to Doctor Who yet.