Tagged: Danny Pink

Mindy Newell: Wibbly Wobbley Timey Winey Stuff

Doctor Who

As most of us Whovians and ComicMixers know, BBC America became the All Doctor Who All The Wibbly Wobbly Timey Winey Stuff network this past week in honor of the premiere of Season 9 – which, as I write this, airs tonight, Saturday, September 19. So I pretty much kept my TV tuned to channel 101 (the BBC America station on my cable system), except for some episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Hardball with Chris Matthews – oh, and the first half-hour of the Repugnantican debate on CNN, of which the less I have to say about that sorry affair the better, except that it disgusted me, and I returned to the All Doctor Who All The Wibbly Wobbly Timey Winey Stuff with relief.

So here’s a rundown of my opinions of random episodes in the lives of the Doctor.

Most Heartbreaking

There have been a number of emotion-walloping episodes since the reboot 10 years ago – see below – but The End of Time “had me at hello.” Much of the credit goes to the absolutely smashing and brilliant Bernard Gribbins as Donna Noble’s grandfather, Wilfred Mott; there were so many moments, but two stand out for me: Wilfred’s tearful pleading and urging to the Doctor to kill the Master and save himself – “Now you take this, that’s an order, Doctor. You take the gun, you take the gun and save your life. And please don’t die, you’re the most wonderful man on earth! I don’t want you to die!” – and his final salute to the Gallifreyan at Donna’s wedding.

Don’t worry; of course I’m not ignoring David Tennant. His acting chops came to the fore here, from his rage and bitterness towards Wilfred, the man he had just told he “would be proud if he were my dad” for being the instrument of his end – “Cause you had to go in there, didn’t you? You had to go in there and get stuck, oh yes. ‘Cause that’s who you are, Wilfred. You were always this, waiting for me, all this time…But me…I could do so much more…So much more!…But this is what I get. My reward…But it’s not fair!” – to his last poignant visits, his last literally life-changing gifts to the people who had journeyed with him through this regeneration: Martha and Mickey, Sara Jane, Donna, Captain Jack, and, of course, the woman he loved, the woman he could never have, Rose Tyler. His last encounter with her, that last promise of “I bet you’re going to have a really great year” was both an acknowledgement that, because of WWTWS, for Rose it was just starting, but that for him, it was truly over. And yet… “I don’t want to go.”

Best Exit of a Companion

Or, in this case, companions. The Angels Take Manhattan rated a close second as “Most Heartbreaking,” as Amelia Pond, the “girl who waited,” became the “woman who refused to wait” – “It’ll be fine. I know it will. I’ll be with him like I should be. Me and Rory together.” – grabbed at the chance of a life in the past with the love of her life, her husband, Rory Williams (synchronally speaking, “the man who waited”). Yes, it broke Matt Smith’s Doctor’s hearts, but still she managed to let him know they were okay with no regrets, trying to offer him some comfort and reminding me that she and he were not over, because of all the WWTWS:

“Hello, old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone. So know that we lived well, and were very happy. And above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes I do worry about you, though. I think once we’re gone, you won’t be coming back here for a while, and you might be alone, which you should never be. Don’t be alone, Doctor. And do one more thing for me. There’s a little girl waiting in a garden. She’s going to wait a long while, so she’s going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she’s patient, the days are coming that she’ll never forget. Tell her she’ll go to sea and fight pirates. She’ll fall in love with a man who’ll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she’ll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived and save a whale in outer space. Tell her this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.”

Hmm, here’s a WWTWS question: Did little Amelia Pond wait so long – 12 years! – because the Doctor was off having adventures with the grown-up Amy and Rory? Was everything that we saw actually a repeat of everything that had already happened?

Best Return of a Companion

Sarah Jane Smith in “School Reunion.” Elisabeth Sladen was my first companion (with Tom Baker), and for me she set the standard – and I believe for everyone who followed her. She broke the mold of what had come before. Rather than transcribe their meeting, here’s the link to the YouTube vid. And in honor of the late Ms. Sladen, here’s a link to her.

As always, YMMV.

Best Introduction of a Companion

Jenna Coleman as Oswin Oswald in “Asylum of the Daleks” – or is that as Clara Oswin Oswald in “The Snowmenor is that as Clara Oswald in “The Bells of Saint John?” Yep, it’s “The Impossible Girl,” who has saved the Doctor in all his incarnations since the very beginning, when she guided him to the right TARDIS: “Sorry. But you were about to make a very big mistake. Don’t steal that one; steal this one. The navigation system’s knackered, but you’ll have much more fun.” Here I am proud to announce that I guessed the identity of the Doctor’s (upcoming) new companion in a phone call with Editor Mike, even though you tried to tell me I was wrong, Mr. Gold. Yes, you did. No matter how you try to deny it, it is a fact.

Best Confrontation between the Doctor and the Companion

I’m watching it rerun right now. Clara Oswald, in the penultimate Season 8 episode, “Dark Water,” demands that the Doctor prevent her boyfriend, Danny Pink, from being killed in a car accident, blackmailing him by throwing the keys of the TARDIS, one by one, into the lava pit of an active volcano…sorry, I have to stop writing for a second…

Okay, I’m back.

Best Recurring Character

Make that “Characters,” with an “s.” Im-not-so-ho, the Paternoster Gang: The Silurian lizard lady, Madam Vastra, (Neve McIntosh), her human wife (who masquerades as her maid), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), and the “Mr. Potato Head” Sontaran Strax (Dan Starkey), their butler. Hah! I bet you thought I was going to say River Song.

Runner-up to Best Recurring Character

Jemma Richardson as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, first seen as UNIT’s (UNified Intelligence Taskforce, nee United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) Head of Scientific Research, and later its Director. Hah! I bet you thought I was going to say River Song.

Bravest Loss of a Supporting Character

Danny Pink, the soldier, killed in a car accident, turned into a Cyberman by Missy, and yet rising above his programming to turn certain defeat into certain victory in “Death in Heaven.”

Saddest Loss of a Supporting Character Runner-Up

Kate Stewart’s assistant, the asthmatic Osgood (Ingrid Oliver), became an instant fan favorite when she was introduced in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” sucking down on her inhaler and wearing the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) scarf, which she either knitted herself or “borrowed” from the archives hidden in UNIT’s Tower of London headquarters. We caught up with her in Season 8’s finale, “Death in Heaven,” in which she’s still sucking down on that inhaler, but now wears the Eleventh Doctor’s (Matt Smith) bow tie – again, she either went out and bought it or “borrowed” it from UNIT’s archives. But our reunion with her was brief, because The Mistress, a.k.a. Missy, The Master’s female incarnation, kills her.

But wait! It has been revealed that Osgood will be back in Season 9! How? Is she really the Zygon impersonator from “The Day of the Doctor,” or will be more WWTWS?

Best The Master

John Simm, especially in his last arc (“The End of Time.”) In his portrayal as the Doctor’s “Professor Moriarty” in “The End of Time,” Simm heartrendingly played to perfection the other side of the poor, wrecked mind of The Master; we got a glimpse of “what might have been.” Instead, it was revealed that The Master was a pawn of the Time Lord President Rassilon (Timothy Dalton) – who was responsible for the drumbeat in The Master’s head that drove him mad and onto the path of his many lives. Sorry, Missy fans, she’s okay, but I’m just not that into her.

Best Season Finale

“Death in Heaven.” Im-not-so-ho, this one had everything. Life and death, hope and resignation, love and hatred. There were final reunions and final sacrifices. And a season-long question was answered – “Am I a good man?” But the best part? Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart finally got that salute from the Doctor.

Mindy Newell: Depression Really Sucks

“…Depression… is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk… slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero…the body…feels sapped, drained.” Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, William Styron 

Sorry for the skip last week, everyone, but I wasn’t up to it – I was down. As in my depression said “Hello, again!” last weekend. No, I didn’t lie in bed for 48 hours, I’ve never given in to that, even back in the day before I was properly diagnosed with this goddamn thing. So on Saturday, though I could feel it banging on the door of my psyche’s house, I did get dressed and made the usual weekend runs to the supermarket and to the laundromat…but by Sunday Elvis was in the house, and even though I got up and put on my workout gear, I blew off my free personal training session that my gym offers to all members for their birthday, decided that I didn’t want to expose my grandson to his fucked-up grandma Mindy, and so just sat around in my workout gear, surfing the web and eating waaaaay too many potato chips. And I kept watching the clock tick away the hours thinking that I had to write my column, but I just couldn’t get the energy up and finally I let Editor Mike know I was sick, though I didn’t specify with what in my e-mail to him.

See, the thing about depression is that it drains the battery and warps the mirror. When it hits me I feel old and ugly and fat and powerless and oh! so! damn! alone! and my thoughts are all about the mistakes I’ve made and the lover(s) I’ve lost and the roads not taken and the…well, it gets pretty nasty and self-destructive, folks. And, for me, at least, it’s embarrassing, because…well, you know that old saw about how when animals are sick they hide away from the herd or crawl under the bed? I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but I always think that if it is, it’s because the animals feel shamed. And I get that, I really do, because, even though I know it’s completely illogical, I feel ashamed and embarrassed.

Which is why, I think, I try to be so open about my depression. It’s my way of fighting it. It makes me so! God-damned! angry! that I have had to deal with this shit for 25 years… anyway, it’s another old saw about how shadows disappear in the light, and I just wanted to let you guys know where I was last weekend.

But that was last weekend. It passed, as all things do….

Everybody stand up and cheer that our friend and fellow columnist John Ostrander came through his cabbage with flying colors! Yeah!!! And yes, we medical folk really do pronounce the acronym CABG that way. I do owe you an apology, though, John. I forgot to let you know about the shave job. Just be glad it wasn’t a body wax!

I’ve been binging on Star Trek: Voyager this week. Totally forgot how absolutely marvelous Kate Mulgrew (currently playing “den mother” Galina “Red” Reznikov on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black) was as Captain Katherine Janeway. The lady had a lot hanging on her performance as the first woman to head a Star Trek series, though technically she wasn’t the first woman we saw command a starship – I believe that honor goes to Tricia O’Neill as Captain Rachel Garret of the U.S.S. Enterprise-C in “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” which aired on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1990. But it’s clear in her execution that Ms. Mulgrew embraced and cherished the opportunity and the role.

All the actors were superb, but one thing I’ve always questioned is why Voyager creators Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor chose not to have Robert Duncan McNeill replay his “fallen Starfleet cadet” Nicholas Locarno in TNG’s 1992 episode “The First Duty,” instead of “bad boy” Tom Paris. It may have been just synchronicity that McNeill read for the part and won it; it may also have been that it would have been very expensive to resurrect the Locarno character, as the writers of “First Duty” would have had to receive royalties every time Locarno appeared on the screen, which would have been every episode of Voyager.

Can’t say I’m happy about the results of the midterm elections last week. I don’t understand why the Democratic candidates ran away from President Obama. Hello, Allison Grimes, did you not learn your lesson when Al Gore distanced himself from Bill Clinton? Jesus, woman, you were a delegate for Obama at the Democratic convention! Who the hell did you think you were fooling? I don’t understand any woman who votes the Republican ticket. No one’s forcing anyone to have an abortion, lady. And what business is it of yours, anyway, if another woman chooses to do so? I don’t understand why someone who is against the minimum wage, denies global warming and climate change and wants to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (created by Republican President Richard Nixon, by the way), gets into office. Oh, I know. She can slaughter hogs.

SPOILER ALERT! STOP HERE IF YOU MISSED THE DOCTOR WHO FINALE! “Bowties are cool.” But Osgood is dead. Or is she?

Danny Pink is dead. Worse, he’s a Cyberman. Or is he?

The coordinates for Gallifrey are wrong, a lie told to the Doctor by the Master – uh, the Mistress. Or are they?

Clara and the Doctor have ended their relationship – or did they?

Is that really Santa Claus?

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Hey, at least I’m not depressed anymore.


New Who Review: “Kill the Moon”

It’s the classic time travel question – would you kill a dangerous killer in their crib, before they’ve actually done anything?  Well, what is you weren’t sure the baby was going to do anything?  What if you were asked to…

By  Peter Harness
Directed by Paul Whilmshurst

Clara speaks to the entire Earth – they run the risk of the Earth being destroyed if they don’t kill an innocent being.  “The man who normally helps” is nowhere to be found, and a decision must be made.  Flashing backwards, we learn that Coal Hill student Courtney Woods has not reacted well to her brief run on the TARDIS.  The Doctor told her she “wasn’t special”, a comment she’s taken to heart.  Clara asks him to apologize; he instead offers her a chance to be the first woman on the Moon.

Alas, all is not well there.  In 2049, the moon has mysteriously gained 1.3 billion tons of extra mass, causing staggering tides on Earth.  It turns out the moon is something altogether new to The Doctor’s eyes, and rather than help…he walks away.

This was a very dark episode with a bright ending, only to reveal that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.  I expect we’ll see this story used in argument for certain social issue quite soon now.  Fabulous performances all round.

GUEST STAR REPORT – Hermione Norris (Lundvik) is well known to British audiences for many regular TV appearances in series like Spooks and Cold Feet.

Tony Osoba (Duke) – is one of a smallish group of actors who’s appeared in both the new and original run of the series.  He had roles in both Destiny of the Daleks and some years later in Dragonfire.

Paul Whilmshurst (director) will be back next week, and will be directing the Christmas episode.  He has a long resume of TV directing, both drama and reality/documentary.

Peter Harness (writer) has been writing for British television for nearly a decade now.  He wrote and appeared in a TV movie about British comedy legend Frankie Howerd, who was played by Who-lumnus David Walliams.

THE MONSTER FILESThe Moon has been the setting of many Who adventures over the decades. It first threatened the Earth millions of years ago, where the dominant life form of the Earth, who would come to be known as Silurians, feared a monstrous asteroid would crash into the planet.  They set themselves up in massive hibernation cities to sleep through the disaster, only for the heavenly body to be trapped by the Earth’s gravity and become the Moon.  That change to the delicate balance of the orbital mechanics of the solar system was enough to allow the planet Mondas to break free of its orbit, returning millennia later as The Tenth Planet.  There have been many bases on the Moon, built and manned by both human and alien forces.  The Cybermen tried to attack one in an appropriately titled episode.  It would be used as a penal colony, house River Song’s alma mater, and eventually, we’d haul in four more for additional real estate.  Needless to say, there’s never been any mention of it hatching a titanic alien and leaving another one in its place, but that’s the sort of thing that gets forgotten when you’re trying to fight off Draconians.

Doctor Who has had its share of spiders as well, even if in this case they’re just bacteria that resemble spiders, by some mad coincidence.  Brought with human explorers in the future, spiders would evolve to control the world of Metebelis III, eventually known as the Planet of the Spiders.  The Racnoss were a semi-arachnid race who planned an overthrow of the world, stopped by the able assistance of The Runaway Bride.


SET PIECES – Rather than go for the old reliable stone quarry, the production team traveled to Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands off Africa, to duplicate the surface of the Moon.  It was last used in the Davison adventure Planet of Fire.

I WEAR THE CLOTHES OF THE REGENERATED – Capaldi is wearing David Tennant’s spacesuit from The Satan Pit, a suit which is rapidly becoming the most recycled prop on the show, gaining on that rock used on almost every alien planet in the classic series.

“No being sick and no hanky-panky” – Considering the last time there was…you know, what-not… on the TARDIS, it resulted in River Song, a clear example of a result which caused both happiness and hardship.

“You’ll have to spend a lot of time, shooting me, because I will keep on regenerating” – The Doctor may be bluffing when says he might keep on regenerating forever – he made a similar comment on The Sarah Jane Adventures when he was asked how many times he could do it.  But the new energy infusion given him by the Time Lords is something new – it’s not known if it was enough for one, a whole new cycle of twelve, or a potentially infinite number.

“What is wrong with my yo-yo?” – The Doctor used a yo-yo to test gravity force during the Baker years, with the same color yo-yo, yet.  I’ve mentioned before that this Doctor is using more gadgets, large and small, to get things done, not just relying on the Sonic Screwdriver, a change I love campaigned for.

“That’s what you do with aliens, isn’t it? Blow them up?” It’s not The Doctor’s primary method, but it’s come up a couple times.  Prime Minister Harriet Jones, (Yes, we know who you are) contacted Torchwood to destroy the retreating Sycorax spaceship at the end of The Christmas Invasion.  And after Leela recommended it the whole time, The Doctor suddenly “came up with the idea” of blowing up The Invisible Enemy.

“High tide everywhere at once” – Well, no. It’d be tides far higher than normal for parts of the Earth both facing and pointed away from the moon, and calamitous low tides at the sides.

“When I say run…run” – So much fun to see bits of the old Doctors pop up again. That was one of the second Doctor’s catch phrases, like in this clip from Tomb of the Cybermen.

“There are some moments in time that I simply can’t see” This is a new take on the old reliable “Fixed Point”, where crucial points in history exist, chronal tipping points that cannot be changed.  But here, rather than just walking away, here he forces three humans to make a choice that will damn the world, either physically, or by making them party to genocide.

“My Gran used to put things on tumblr” There actually is a girl named Courtney Woods with an account on tumblr, and I expect she’s getting an amazing increase in traffic right now.  The Doctor Who tumblr community is amazingly vast and creative, featuring animation, art and filk music.  It’s neat we’re finally getting a shout out.

“The last time you said that, she turned up on the wrong side of the planet!” – Clara is referring to the events of Cold War, where the TARDIS popped off to the south pole because The Doctor turned on the HADS, or Hostile Action Displacement System.

“There’s some DVDs in the blue bookshelf – just stinck on in the TARDIS console, it’ll bring you to me” There are exactly seventeen DVD titles containing the program that will automatically return the TARDIS to The Doctor’s location.  They are the seventeen DVDs owned by Sally Sparrow, as revealed in the classic Blink.

“We didn’t nip out after pudding and kill Hitler” River Song, or rather Mels certainly tried that one time.

“Turn your lights off” – Real world physics get in the way here. Luckily, when they see the moon from Earth at the end of the episode, it’s full, which means it’d be behind the Earth. That’s backed up by the fact that the Moon is fully lit throughout the episode. This means when they were looking at the Earth, they’d be looking at the side in night   If they were on the other side, they’d never be able to see the lights. But unless my math is wrong, 45 minutes is not close to enough time for the light-up votes of the entire Earth to be seen – only an additional sliver of the Earth’s circumference would com around.

“Mind your language, please – there are children present” I count one child. Whoever could The Doctor be referring to in the plural? Patronizing, indeed.

“You made your decision…humanity made its choice” Assuming the vote is the same on the bright side, the Earth chose to kill a beautiful and innocent creature to save themselves.  That’s more than a bit similar to the choice the denizens of Britain made when they built the Starship UK in The Beast Below. Considering they made themselves all forget they did it then, maybe that’s a viable explanation why it’s so rarely mentioned in future history.

“Not bad for a girl from Coal Hill School” I for one am perfectly ready for Courtney Woods to come on full time as a companion.  We’re seeing her make a massive change in just these two episodes.  She’s not well educated, she’s an average kid.  And as such is a more perfect avatar for the viewer than any of the adult companions we’ve seen in the entire new series.  Companions are often younger in the comics for that reason. It’s likely the extra issues of a minor working on a TV show, especially one as intensive as Doctor Who that precludes such a casting choice, but for a girl for this this is her first professional acting job, Ellis George is more than up for it.

BIG BAD WOLF REPORT – Clara’s arc is once again the only one furthered this week.  The blowout argument with The Doctor, combined with the heart-to-heart with Danny, certainly points towards a change of affiliation in the future.

“It’s time to take the stabilizers off your bike” there may be two levels of action happening here.  The Doctor is forcing Clara to make a staggering decision.  He is also causing a rift in their relationship.  What are the odds that this is another attempt to push Clara to safety?  It’s plainly obvious that Clara will do everything in her power to help The Doctor – she hung onto the outside of the TARDIS for an eyes-open trip through the time vortex in The Time of the Doctor. She’s already spent an unknown amount of time racing through his timeline, fixing what The Great Intelligence set wrong.  Perhaps he knows she deserves a rest, and knows the only way she’d leave is if he all but pushes her away.  As here, The Doctor is forcing Clara to make a massive choice.

“You wanna have babies?” Courtney’s teasing mention of Danny is spot on.  Assuming he’s not something Clever and surprising from Moffat’s dark evil heart, the budding relationship between Danny and Clara is almost a certainty.  There’s not much that could stop it – death, perhaps, or as mentioned, an inability to leave The Doctor.

“I’ve got Grey areas” “Yeah, I noticed” It sure sounds like a hair joke, but on further rumination, it’s pretty clear Clara is talking about the grey areas in The Doctor’s personality.  This is an extension of that first question – “Am I a good man?”

Clara Doctor copperfield
That’s the quote from David Copperfield on Clara’s board. Once again, the choices of quotes Clara selects are amazingly prescient.

“I had a really bad day” – Yes, there’s absolutely a very big story to be told here, and there’s still a chance it may not be a good one for Clara and their relationship.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – The Doctor tests the little grey cells.  Mummy on the Orient Express, coming this Saturday.

New Who Review – “Time Heist”

“Are you in or out?”

The Doctor and Clara wake in the company of two strangers and are quickly told they are to rob a bank.  Everything is planned so well, almost as if the planner knows what’s going to happen, that The Doctor quickly realizes that this isn’t a mere bank heist, but a…

By Steve Thompson and Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas MacKinnon

The Bank of Karabraxos is the single most secure bank in human history.  A loyal staff, redundant security systems, and a guard dog that literally smells guilt in the customers.  When The Doctor picks up the phone of the TARDIS and suddenly recovers from a blackout in a strange room with two criminals, it’s too tantalizing not to move ahead with.  Being chased by the bank’s security at all times, the quartet must breach unbreachable security, all the while not actually know what they’re supposed to steal.

A solid thriller with questions and puzzles all the way through.  Once again, the idea of breaking into the perfect bank is not new, but with the right character work and a delightful twist at the end, it works wonderfully.

GUEST STAR REPORTKeeley Hawes (Ms. Delphox, Mme. Karabraxos ) is best known to genre fans as the voice of Lara Croft in seven games to date over nearly ten years.  She’s played Lady Agnes Holland on the new version of Upstairs Downstairs, and DI Alex Drake on Ashes to Ashes, the sequel to Life on Mars.

Jonathan Bailey (Pai) appeared with David Tennant in the murder procedural Broadchurch and had the titles role in Leonardo.

THE MONSTER FILESThe Teller is a magnificent beast, both in design and ability.  Unlike a number of creatures in the new series, it was made with practical effects, which meant it was on set with the actors and they didn’t have to imagine what it looked like.  Like the Crooked Man from Hide, the being was driven by the loss of its mate, and once they were reunited, its rage and malice abated.  There have been plenty of telepathic species in the show, though few with such a weaponized form.  The Sensorites could affect the minds of other beings, and their planetary neighbors the Ood could communicate at amazing distances from each other.


THE FACES OF THOSE HE’S WRONGED FLOAT UP AT HIM – In that fast flip of hardened criminals, more than a few recognizable faces can be seen.  There was a Sensorite from the Hartnell adventure, a Tereliptil from the Davison years, an Ice Warrior, a group of Slitheen, and a Weevil and John Hart from Torchwood. But most interesting is a character from the Doctor Who comics – Absalom Daak, Dalek Killer. Created by Steve Moore and Steve Dillon, Daak enjoyed a long run in the Doctor Who Weekly.

BECAUSE IT ORBITS URANUS AND LOOKS FOR KLINGONS – One of the treasures in Madame Karabraxos’ vault is quite valuable to episode director Douglas MacKinnon.  It’s a rocket ship made from a toilet paper tube, made for him by her daughter for Christmas.

ONE CAN DO THE WORK OF TWO – They only made one Teller suit.  Even the last scene as they walk away was a double-exposure, the suit actor playing both the male and female.

“It’s a memory worm” – First seen in The Snowmen, the memory worm is a creature whose slimy coating has the defensive ability to erase the past hour of memory from any being who touches it.  In the aforementioned adventure, Sontaran Strax keeps touching it, as he is a boob.  Here, they’re used to erase the memories of The Doctor’s gang (he has a gang now) before beginning their little expedition.  The effects of the worms seem to have changed a bit, or at least clarified – here it’s shown that the memories are not erased as much as blocked. Not exactly a big change, and effectively no difference when attempting to get away from a predator.

“Why are we not using the TARDIS?” – It’s always fun to get to answer the questions the viewer are already thinking of.  Let’s them know you’re a step ahead.  Solar Storms affected the navigation of the TARDIS in The Rebel Flash, so there’s precedent for keeping away from the interference.  Of course, as we’ll find out later, there’s a more ulterior motive for not using it – to make things more fun.

“He’s gone already, it’s over” – Once again, while the Tennant or Smith incarnations would sweat and suffer over not being able to save someone they’ve not even met, this Doctor is a pragmatist.  Even when it looks like their own compatriots are killed, he moves forward, eyes on the prize. Of course, one could note that Clara seems to have rather quickly gotten over the loss of Psi and Saibra once that big tantalizing vault opens.

“Basically, it’s the eyebrows” – Not to mention the air of knowledge and authority The Doctor gives off.  He uses a trick yr. obt. svt. uses whenever he can – act like you’re supposed to be there.  Nine times out of ten, people take your unspoken word for it, and follow your lead.

“You can delete your memories?” – Psi’s story is somewhat of a mirror to Captain Jack Harkness’ original backstory, which has since been somewhat forgotten.  While a Time Agent, he had a large part of his memories deleted, and was trying to find who did it, and if possible recover them.

“Don’t think” – Once again, a simple act is made scary. From trying not to Blink, to Clara having to hold her breath at the beginning of the season to trying not to think of anything here, they’re all things that the viewer can’t help but trying not to do along with her as they watch. We can only hope that nobody thought of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

“It’s a neophyte circuit – I’ve only ever seen one once before” – And I’ll lay odds this is the same one. The Doctor set this entire adventure up – the request from Madame Karabraxos could have been done any number of ways, but he chose to set it up in a way that would not only be the most interesting for himself and Clara, but to help cure/repair two people who he’d clearly never met before he did his research and found them.

“I hate the Architect!” – The theme of the episode is the idea of not being able to trust, or even stand, someone who looked exactly like you.  It’s why Saibra couldn’t touch anyone (“Could you trust someone who looked like you, out of your own eyes?”), it’s why Madame Karabraxos’ relationship with her cloned employees was to tense, and why The Doctor thought The Architect was such a bossy prat.  At that point he didn’t know he’d planned all this, he only suspected, based on an analysis of the mysterious man’s personality.  It’s not the first time he’s displayed such a low opinion of himself – once he realizes who the Dream Lord was in Amy’s Choice,  he said there was only one person in the universe who could hate him that much.

BIG BAD WOLF REPORT – Not much mention of the plot in this episode, save for a brief appearance by Danny Pink, who is certainly (OK, hopefully) not the Big Bad, but is certainly setting up to be important to Clara.

“I’m giving you my telephone number” – At the beginning of the episode, The Doctor once again mentions that there’s only a handful of people who has the phone number to the TARDIS, including a mysterious lady in a shop who gave it to Clara back in The Bells of St. John.  Madame Karakraxos is now a member of that group, which also includes most of of The Doctor’s recent companions (like Martha Jones who used it to call him to stop The Sontaran Stratagem), Winston Churchill (from well before Victory of the Daleks) and, apparently, Marilyn Monroe, whose marriage to The Doctor did not count.  And apparently, he’s STILL been too busy to re-route the line to the control panel, as he asked Handles to remind him to do.

“Beat that for a date” – And right there, all the questions about “Why would The Doctor go through all that rigmarole” are answered.  He set the whole thing up as a game to give himself and Clara something to do that day.  In DC Comics, wealthy socialite Sue Dearborn Dibny would get the ultimate Birthday present for her husband, Ralph Dibny, AKA The Elongated Man.  She would set up an elaborate mystery game for him, usually with the assistance of other members of the Justice League, to give him an adventure he’d not soon forget. It’s entirely likely that’s the motivation for The Doctor here.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – Clara tries to give Danny more of her time, but The Doctor finds a problem that needs solving by any means necessary.  The Caretaker starts his new job this Saturday