UNIT scientist Osgood, played by Ingrid Oliver, returns to Doctor Who for season nine. Having been killed by Missy (Michelle Gomez) in the show’s season eight finale ‘Death in Heaven’, Steven Moffat decided to bring back the Doctor’s biggest fan.
Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, said: “Osgood is back, fresh from her recent murder at the end of last series. We recently confirmed that Osgood was definitely dead and not returning – but in a show about time travel, anything can happen. The brilliant Ingrid Oliver is back in action. This time though, can the Doctor trust his number one fan?”
This time she’s back in action and comes face-to-face with the shape-shifting extra-terrestrial Zygons, as they also return for the new season. They last appeared in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ for the show’s 50th anniversary episode.
One of the most popular fan theories about Osgood’s not-deadness involves the events of the anniversary episode. She was impersonated by a Zygon, but as the episode progressed, they seem to achieve some sort of mutual understanding. Many have clung to the hope that the Osgood we saw reduced to particulate matter was the Zygon duplicate.
Of course, we also saw Missy’s device perform a number of functions – who’s to say one of them wasn’t a teleporter, like the shredders in Time Heist? How will she ever come back?
Speaking on set, Ingrid Oliver commented on her reappearance: “As every actor who’s worked on Doctor Who will tell you, there’s always the secret hope you’ll get the call asking you to come back. To actually receive that call is both unexpected and brilliant. The word ‘honour’ gets banded about a lot, but it really is, it’s an honour. Especially because I was so sure Osgood was a goner after the last series!”
The two-part episode is currently being filmed in Cardiff, Wales, and is written by Peter Harness (Doctor Who – ‘Kill the Moon’, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Wallander), produced by Peter Bennett and directed by Daniel Nettheim (Line of Duty, Glue).
Also joining Peter Capaldi (The Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and confirmed for guest roles in the double episode is Jemma Redgrave, Jaye Griffiths, Cleopatra Dickens, Sasha Dickens, Abhishek Singh, Todd Kramer, Jill Winternitz, Nicholas Asbury, Jack Parker and Aidan Cook.
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams was announced as one of the guest stars on the new series of Doctor Who, filming now in Wales.
While her exact role has not been revealed, Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, added:
“We’re thrilled to have Maisie Williams joining us on Doctor Who. It’s not possible to say too much about who or what she’s playing, but she is going to challenge the Doctor in very unexpected ways. This time he might just be out of his depth, and we know Maisie is going to give him exactly the right sort of hell.”
The announcement also revealed two more episode titles for the new series, ‘The Girl Who Died’ written by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat, and ‘The Woman Who Lived’ by Catherine Tregenna. Tregenna has written several episodes of Torchwood, including “Captain Jack Harkness”, for which she received a Hugo nomination. She’s the first female writer on the show since 2008.
The titles seem thematically linked, sparking thought that they may be another two-parter, following the opening episodes “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar” which feature the return of Michelle Gomez as Missy, AKA the regenerated Master.
Other guest actors confirmed to appear in the new series are comedian Rufus Hound, Shakespearean actor Barnaby Kay and fellow GoT actor Paul Kaye.
Doctor Who is set to return this fall, “with further casting to be announced in due course”.
We knew she’d be back – Michelle Gomez said she’d be back, we just didn’t know how soon she’d be back. Well, now we know – Missy (AKA The Master) will make her return in the series premiere of Doctor Who later in 2015.
The two-part episode, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, is written by the show’s lead writer Steven Moffat, produced by Peter Bennett and directed by Hettie Macdonald (Blink, the Hugo Award-winning Doctor Who episode).
Not a cosplay project – there’s plenty of resources for that. Heck, the BBC used to send out official plans for one. But an actual, proper one, with the mutant and the hoverpad and the exterminatey-ready-to-go-ness?
The UK’s Horror Channel are now running classic Doctor Who episodes, and they took the opportunity to run the numbers.
Click to embiggenate
These numbers include all the startup costs; R&D, as well as initial set up of the factory locations. So we’re looking at the cost of rolling that first Dalek off the line – presumably the per-unit costs would decrease as time goes on. Allowing for depreciation, once production gets up to speed, costs could drop precipitously. Though of course, even the first Dalek could get quite a bit done.
Also, with a number of nuclear plants already in existence, one might be able to cut a deal with a forward-thinking city to set up a lab in an extant plant, not to mention the various tax breaks many municipalities would offer to such a job-creating endeavour.
The cost of raw materials would drop over time as well as more areas are conquered, allowing for greater collection activities. And since Daleks are in a sealed system capable of surviving in the vacuum of space, odds are they aren’t too worried about the effects of fracking on the environment. That would certainly reduce the costs of mining – no need to worry about EPA restrictions.
The Horror Channel’s website has more info on The Doctor, as well as a neat web game that lets you demolish Daleks at various locations around England.
NOW we know what the cubes were in The Power of Three – space Lego blocks.
Lego has announced that its newest approved project will be a Doctor Who and Companions Lego set, designed by Andrew Clark. Created as part of their Lego Ideas program, the site allows users to design and submit potential Lego sets to be manufactured by the company. Past sets from the program include japan’s Hayabusa satellite, a series of Minecraft-inspired sets, and an assortment of female scientist minifigures.
Doctor Who already has a building block license with the company Character Building – their blind-buy minifigures are currently available across the world.
Emma Owen, UK spokesperson for LEGO Ideas commented:
“We’re extremely excited to announce that a Doctor Who and a WALL-E set will be released as our next LEGO Ideas fan based sets, congratulations to the designers Andrew Clark and Angus MacLane!
No details have been revealed concerning the contents of the sets, only that more information will be forthcoming for a release by the end of the year.
In a recent interview with Steven Moffat, I had the opportunity to discuss The Doctor’s companions with him. He shared his opinions on whether or not we always need to have a dramatic departure for his friends, and whether or not we couldn’t see a more polite and happy departure where his friend says “Thanks for the fun, I’m off to buy new sheets now”. His response was rather emphatic:
“Yes that would be the least talked about moment in television history wouldn’t it? I mean really if you did a scene ‘I’m going to buy some sheets now,’ no one is ever going to write a fan letter about that one. So no, we’re not going to do that”.
He also called foul on the popular thought about The Doctor’s companions always ending up worse for the wear. “I mean, that’s not true about all the Doctor’s companions. It’s maybe what the Doctor thinks in his darker moments and when he’s dying in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” He worries that he might’ve done them terrible harm. But Rose is off in a parallel universe. She’ll be with her – with a human version of the Doctor. She’s fine. Martha learns to stand up for herself and got over her crush on the Doctor and she soars off. Yes Donna has a more miserable thing. But she doesn’t know she’s miserable. She ends up actually quite happy and married to a good bloke. Rory and Amy are perfectly happy in New York. They’re dead, but, you know, everyone from that year is dead so that’s all right. They lived to a ripe old age and had a lovely time.
“The Doctor – so he’s not – they all don’t leave under terrible circumstances at all. I think the tragedy when Amy and Rory went was the Doctor lost them not – and that in the end they, you know, of course that, you know, Amy would choose Rory over the Doctor in a heartbeat. And he actually had some trouble quite dealing with that. But the fact is, no he doesn’t ruin their lives. He can induce a certain amount of trauma, it must be said. But no they’re not all destroyed by any means. And no, every time, every time the Doctor loses a regular character from this show it will happen in a moment that makes people talk. Because the episode that you described no one would talk about that. That wouldn’t be thrilling.
“If a friendship is severed for good or for bad reasons, that’s a big moment in your life. And if you walk away from a great friend but then you’re not crying a little then you’ve not been reading the memos frankly. You’ve not been paying attention. So, no, Doctor Who will not take the un-dramatic path because we’d like to stay on television and popular.”
So far in the new series, all the Companions have been from modern day Britain. That wasn’t always the case in the old series. You’ve got Leela. You’ve got Dodo. You’ve got folks from different places, different times. Still human looking so you save money on the makeup. But how likely or how perhaps harder or different to write is it to write for a companion that isn’t just from modern day Earth?
“Well if we found that difficult,” he replied, “then we’d have tremendous difficulty writing the main character wouldn’t we? It’s not a question of whether it is difficult to do or not. It’s a question of whether it’s the right thing to do or not. Now in fact, the old series doesn’t do a hell of a lot of it. If you looked at the vast majority of the companions come from contemporary era. Even the ones who don’t come from contemporary era are pretty much normalized ones like with Jamie and Victoria. Then it’s hardly any time at all before Victoria is wearing short skirts. No Victorian would actually do that. You know, so the problem is – and I don’t say it’s an unsolvable problem, but the majority solution will always be a contemporary companion. But the problem is you need an anchoring point for the audience. You need someone who represents their world and their point of view. And the simplest, purest and best answer to that is somebody from their world.
“Now somebody who’s watched Doctor Who for an unseasonably long time like I have, like possibly you have, I don’t know, might get bored of that and say ‘I wish it was, you know, a two headed alien from the planet Prang’. The new audience don’t think that. They want an anchoring point on that mysterious alien the Doctor. Doesn’t mean we’ll always do it this way. But the reality is it’s always going to be somebody from contemporary era or somebody who ends up being very like somebody from contemporary era.
“I think it was great – the one that broke the mold really I would argue was Leela. We actually went for somebody who was quite different. I would sort of say that Jamie and Victoria ended up – when I was a kid watching I wasn’t particularly aware that they were historical characters. And I do remember watching them. And Romana just came across as, you know, in the end like a very, very clever young woman. She wasn’t that different from Liz Shaw. It’s going to be – it’s going to be the relatable half of the partnership. Keep in mind Doctor Who has to not just appeal to sci-fi fans, it has to appeal to a huge mainstream audience who dwarf the sci-fi audience. You sort of need that way in for them. Having said that, you know, who knows maybe there’ll be a robot dog next. I don’t know.”
One thing that has changed about the companions in the new series is we’ve seen much more about their family lives. Time was they’d be whisked away and dropped off with nary a word about who they left behind, save for the odd joke about a maiden aunt of perhaps a pot on the stove. Clara doesn’t even travel with The Doctor full time. Is that the “New Normal” as Peter Pachal from Mashable asked, or will we see a more traditional companion relationship in the future?
“Well, I mean there’s never going to be a ‘new normal’. Everybody who comes aboard the TARDIS will have a different story and do it a different way. You know, it’s not a dictate of any kind it’s just – Clara’s personality did not suit the idea of simply abandoning everything else she does and running off with the Doctor. I mean you wouldn’t believe it if I wrote that scene. Yes I’ll just go move into the TARDIS with you and I’ll keep in the spare room and you tell me where to go and you drive. That’s just – Clara’s never going to do that in a million years, just wouldn’t.
“But Amy the night before her wedding, all anxious about whether she’s getting married too young. She can run away from awhile. But once she gets married of course she’ll do that. I think you’ve got to look at the Doctor as somebody who’s got a fantastic car that likes to take you for a spin now and then. That doesn’t mean you move in. Now Rose was in a very different place, wasn’t she? She lived in a council estate. She didn’t like her job. She had a vexed relationship with her mother. She had a, you know, she had a boyfriend she wasn’t sure of. She ran away because that was right for her character. It’s purely whether or not you want to run away. And whether or not you might need the idea that you might be number two in this particular relationship.
“Clara is never going to – from the first moment you meet her she’s never going to be somebody who thinks that they live in the spare room while his nibs drives the TARDIS. That’s just not what she’s like.
“Doesn’t mean that the next one won’t be like that. Who knows?”
The facts and details of the Christmas episode have been kept strictly secret, and for good reason. Rumors flew that Jenna Coleman was leaving the series just as the new season was a-borning, and her go-to answer for the events of the special was “If you know if I’m staying with the series, it’ll ruin the ending”. A spectacularly surprising cameo, a hilarious guest star, and a plot that keeps unfolding like a fried onion makes for a ripping yarn for the holiday. But for most of the year, we were never sure or not if this was to be Clara’s…
By Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst
Clara and The Doctor team up again after Santa crashes on her roof. You heard me – Sweet Papa Chrimbo himself appears atop Clara’s home, and before any sense can be made of that, The Doctor reappears and snatches her away. They arrive at a mysterious science base where the scientists are combating Dream Crabs, an alien species that lull their victims into a peaceful dream-state while they quietly eat their brains. Clara is attacked by one, and “awakens” at home on Christmas morning, met by Danny Pink, inexplicably hale and hearty. It’s only when she properly awakens does she, The Doctor, and the scientists realize that they may well be all still asleep. Oh, and Santa Claus keeps appearing to help.
Moffat took full advantage of the rumors surrounding Jenna Coleman’s status on the show to deliver a series of heart-gripping false moves that left the viewer exhausted, but fully entertained. Moffat has always been good at creating characters that you immediately feel for, and this is no exception. Even when it’s eventually revealed that we actually knew nothing about the people, we’re happy to see them survive.
THE MONSTER FILES – The Dream Crabs are based on a very common concept, the idea of dreams being used to cloak a slow death. Comics fans will likely already thought of the Alan Moore story For the Man Who Has Everything, which featured Mongul using an alien plant called a Black Mercy to place Superman in a dream state where he believes he had grown up on Krypton with his loving family. It was even adapted into an episode of Justice League Unlimited, adapted by J. M. DeMatteis.
Fans of Red Dwarf will also recall the despair squid, a being that takes the opposite tack – inducing dreams to make its victims despair, causing them to take their own lives in the dream. The female of said species follows more the standard trope, causing a happy dream from which the victim(s) from which would be loath to awaken. The Dream Lord tried the same thing in Amy’s Choice – Heck, you could even argue that the Master’s plan with the Nethersphere was the same scheme – a artificial reality to keep the victims placated and off-balance until they were needed. Moffat takes a page from Inception as well, folding in the idea of multi-layered dreams, resulting in never being sure if they were truly awake.
GUEST STAR REPORT –
Nick Frost (Santa) is best know in the US for his frequent collaborations with fellow Who-lumnus Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright. But he’s got a long list of solo projects in the UK as well. He starred in the Sci-Fi comedy Hyperdrive, which also starred Kevin Eldon and the delightful and huge Miranda Hart. He hosted a mock “worst case scenario” style show called DANGER! 50,000 Volts! and worked with Daisy Haggard (Sophie from The Lodger and Closing Time) on the sketch show Man Stroke Woman.
Michael Troughton (Professor Albert) is the son of Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor. He has quite a respectable acting career in his own right, including a regular role on Rik Mayall’s The New Statesman. He took several years off from acting to care for his ailing wife, who passed away recently. This episode is the second acting role he’s taken in his return to the boards. He and his father are far from the only actors in the family. His brother David played King Peladon in the classic series Pertwee adventure The Monster of Peladon, and Professor Hobbs in Tennant’s Midnight. His nephew, Harry Melling, played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films.
Dan Starkey (Ian) is well known to Who-fen as Strax the Sontaran, not to mention practically every Sontaran to appear in the last few years of the show. They chose to have him play an elf in this episode because as Moffat explains in a recent interview, “we thought it would be nice for him not to have to wear so much rubber. And I’m talking about his professional rubber not his personal life”.
Natalie Gumede (Ashley Carter)is known in England for an extended run on Coronation Street, and is currently starring in a web comedy called Sally the Life Coach. Her biggest mass media appearance was a tie for second-place showing in Strictly Come Dancing, the original British version of what came over here as Dancing with the Stars.
BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS –
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO – Apparently Jenna Coleman did initially plan to leave the show at the end of the season – the original ending of the special was for Clara to really be 80-odd years old, and would die in bed after a long-awaited reunion with The Doctor. She had a change of heart (much like Clara did mid-season) and the ending was hastily amended. It’s one of the few times where “it was all a dream” was a perfectly logical progression of the story, and not merely a desperate hat-pull.
SET PIECES – The unnamed planet upon which The Doctor was attacked by the Dream Crabs looked remarkably similar to the planet that Clara attempted to threaten him into saving Danny in Death in Heaven. That that version of that world was also only a dream only makes it more fitting that the same set be used again when it isn’t…IF it isn’t/
“It’s time to start living in the real world” – It’s always fun when one of the first things said in an episode turns out to be the solution all along, and you never notice. See also Clara’s line shortly after re-entering the TARDIS, “This is real, yeah?”
“Clara Oswald…mostly favors travel books” – When we first meet (this) Clara in The Bells of St. John, her room is filled with travel books, starting with the one she got from her mom.
“Don’t think about them…don’t look at them” – Once again, Moffat takes a commonplace thing and makes it scary. The old joke “try not to think about a tap-dancing elephant” comes to mind here – it’s almost impossible NOT to think of something once it’s been brought to your attention. Trying to keep your mind blank was also touched on in Time Heist as well as a way to stay clear of The Teller.
“They can only see you if you see them” – The idea of a being that hacks into your senses to get a look at where they are is a neat idea, but I couldn’t keep from thinking of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, “a mind-bogglingly stupid beast; it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you” from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“Three hundred and four minus seventeen” – The Doctor would often start asking his Companion maths questions as a method of getting them to concentrate, and keep from being distracted by the wild situations they were in. He once asked Sarah Jane Smith to recite the alphabet backwards.
“It’s Christmas Eve ; early to bed” – Santa speaks to the Sleepers like children, a trick that that worked very well for The Doctor in The Doctor Dances, written by…Steven Moffat!
“It’s a long story” is right up there with “I’ll explain later” as a standard hand-wave to get past having to provide a large amount of exposition to cover a point that really doesn’t need explaining. Moffat simply uses the cliché as an actual plot point, confounding expectations.
“That’s a bit rude, coming from a magician” – Moffat does love his callbacks. That’s a reference from Time Heist, where The Doctor says his new look “was trying for minimalist, but ended up with magician”.
“They’re a bit like face-huggers, aren’t they?” – Professor Albert points out the similarity to the egg-laying form of the Xenomorph from Alien, but did you notice that when Shona awakens at home, one of the things on her Christmas To Do list was to watch not only Alien, but The Thing from Another World?
“Four manuals” – In yet another example of the “dream trap” genre, Batman is trapped in an electronic dream by the Mad Hatter in Perchance to Dream. Books play a role in his realization of his predicament – Dreams are generated in another part of the brain than the ability to read, so when Bruce opens a book, it’s filled with illegible gibberish.
“Time travel is always possible…in dreams” – It’s the method Madame Vastra used to have a quorum across several centuries, with one person that was already dead, albeit electronically saved, in The Name of the Doctor.
“About sixty-two years” – The Doctor has shown up late for more than a few of his friends. He was too late to see the Madame du Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace and he missed The Brigadier.
“I travelled” – This may be the closest we’ll see to a clean break between The Doctor and Clara, and it’s a good look at how being a Companion changes people. After only dreaming about seeing the world as a younger girl, she up and did it in this dream-version of her time after The Doctor.
Also note that When The Doctor has to help Clara pop the cracker, it’s a mirror of Clara having to help her Grandmother pop the poem-filled cracker in The Time of the Doctor.
NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – This is a very unique scenario, in that we actually DO know what’s up next time. If only to drive home the fact that Clara (and through her, Ms. Coleman) was staying, they’ve actually given us the title of next season’s first episode – The Magician’s Apprentice. Whether that’s yet another reference to The Doctor’s new look is something we can only guess.
Jenna Coleman has been confirmed for the full series, and Peter Capaldi for the next two, so we’re in a position where we don’t have to worry about anyone leaving for at least a little while. But I must admit, as well as Jenna and Peter work together, I don’t know if the ending of Death in Heaven wasn’t the right “out”. A bittersweet ending that left both characters sad at their parting, but both feeling that they’d done something good for the other, to let them move on with their lives. Much as with Amy and Rory’s first farewell at the end of The God Complex, everybody lives. But Steven had to bring them back that last half-season and give them a more dramatic and sad finish (for The Doctor, anyway), not to mention more final departure. Not to mention that to a degree, Clara has lost a bit of her independence – the overly emotional realization of how much she’s missed the sound of the TARDIS, and yet another overly sappy statement of what she thinks of The Doctor.
When we call back to the description of wanting to keep traveling as an “addiction” – even though she was allegedly asking it about The Doctor, it’s clearly a question that could be asked to, and about Clara. I can but hope that come the end of next series, we aren’t debating whether Clara overstayed her welcome.
When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth. As Cybermen. See what he did there? The Master is back, and has been working on this plot for QUITE a long time. Some old friends return for the fight, we say goodbye (for now, anyway) to some others, and oh goodness, were there still surprises. I don’t know why you’d be reading this recap before you saw the episode, but if you are, don’t. Because it makes much more sense to know about the…
DEATH IN HEAVEN
By Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Some will say they knew all along, and some are still scraping their jaws off the floor A big surprise, a BIG surprise.
By Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Deciding to come clean with her boyfriend Danny, Clara begins to bear all to him over the phone, only to have the call, and his life, cut short as Danny is struck fatally by a passing car. Clara passes through the five stages of grief off camera, and advances to step six – Plan To Get Him Back. She attempts to threaten The Doctor into saving him, but learns quickly that it’s not necessary. As they arrive in a bizarre mausoleum, Danny awakens on the other side of the equation, in the same office where we’ve seen several people arrive, having it explained to him that he’s dead. The Doctor and Clara are told a wild story – a discovery about the afterlife that has caused a change in the mortuary industry. But in fact, the bodies are not being protected from harm, but harvested for organic base materials by the Cybermen. But it turns out there’s not one old foe to face, there’s two – the enigmatic Missy is in fact The Doctor’s old foe The Master, back again, in a new form, and clearly playing the long game.
As thrilling as the reveals were in the episode (especially the final one), not a great deal happens. We finally learn about the background of Danny Pink, in a series of very good scenes, played well by Samuel Anderson. But largely, the episode is set-up for next week’s finale – we learn who the foe is (are), we learn about the plot, and that’s about it. Lots of good acting between Capaldi and Coleman, not to mention a welcome return from Sheila Reid as Clara’s Gran.
Given the nature of this story, we must note the SPOILER ALERT. Proceed with caution.
GUEST STAR REPORT –
Rachel Talalay (Director) started her genre career right at the start, directing the Nightmare on Elm Street sequel Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, a title that managed to lie twice. She directed the…divisive…Tank Girl, and Ghost in the Machine, a film with a story somewhat thematically linked to this one. The majority of her career has been in television, both here in the US and the UK. She directed two episodes of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), some Ally McBeal, and more recently Kyle XY and the…divisive…Flash Gordon series from Syfy.
THE MONSTER FILES – The Cybermen have had quite a few appearances in the new series, most recently in this new design in Neil Gaiman’s Nightmare in Silver. Our universe’s version of the cyborg monsters came from the planet Mondas, a tenth planet in the solar system that was ripped from orbit. The denizens of the world slowly replaced their body parts to survive, and eventually became a race that saw what we call the Singularity as the logical progression of life. The version of the Cybermen we’ve seen in the new series are from a parallel dimension colloquially known as Pete’s World, after Rose Tyler’s father. Inventor John Lumic created them as a new step in evolution, but as happens, his invention got out of hand. There’s been a question all along of whether the Cybermen we’ve seen in recent years are some amalgamation of the Pete’s World and Mondasian Cybermen. Considering one of the promo shots for this adventure featured The Doctor holding the head of a classic series Cyberman, we may finally see the question at least addressed.
The Master was created simply to be the Moriarty to The Doctor’s Sherlock. Played originally by the late Roger Delgado, The Master remained a threat to the universe through the original and new series, and even the TV movie, played by Eric Roberts. His history kept under wraps, it’s known that he and The Doctor knew each other from the Time Lord Academy, being members of the student think tank The Deca. Rumors have bubbled about that before Delgado’s passing, there was to be an adventure where it would be revealed The Doctor and The Master were brothers – of course, since it was never written, one could claim it never happened. The Master has always had a habit of working in the background, often behind the thin veil of a play on words pseudonym. Even the name used when John Simm played him, “Mister Saxon” was an anagram of “Master No. Six”, as in the sixth actor to play the role.
BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS –
PLEASING PETER TO PLAY PAUL’S – The scene of the Cybermen streaming out of St. Paul’s is a clear hat-tip to the iconic scene from the lost Troughton adventure The Invasion, which featured among other things, the first appearance of UNIT, who will feature heavily in the next episode.
“Shut up – stay Shut Up” – More examples of Clara becoming more like The Doctor – this is is a reflection of how The Doctor asked everyone for a bit of shush in Time Heist.
“All of the stuff that I did wrong” – The Post-Its all over Clara’s bookshelves have references to adventures from this season, with a couple of interesting unseen references – I don’t recall an adventure with a “Miniature Clara,” and there’s only on Jenny I can recall, and if she’s shown up again off camera, a lot of people are going to demand we go back and get a look.
“The car – it just came out of nowhere” – This is a very good description of how Pete Tyler was killed in Father’s Day. After Rose brashly decides to save him, thus bollixing up the time line the car that was to have hit him keeps passing the same point on the road, giving Pete the chance to put thins right by letting happen what has happened already.
“I am owed” – Clara has literally saved The Doctor’s life an incalculable number of times by stepping into his timeline and fixing the havoc wrought by The Great Intelligence. It’s not clear exactly how much time has passed since the accident, but it can’t be more than a couple days – the flowers are still fresh in her kitchen. It’s hard to know how long she’s been planning this little gambit of hers, or how long she’s been letting that phone ring.
“You told me what it would take to destroy a TARDIS key” – Let the mash-ups between this scene and the end of Lord of the Rings commence.
“All seven” – Between the Pertwee and Baker years, there was a stage play called Doctor Who and the Daleks in Seven Keys to Doomsday, for which the number of keys is surely a hat-tip. And in case you missed it, one of the keys was hidden in a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
“If I change the events that brought you you here, you will never COME here and ask me to change those events” – This is a textbook description of the Grandfather Paradox. As Isaac Asimov explained it once on Cosmos, “If I go back and kill my grandfather, I will never be born, which means I will never go back to kill him, which means he’s not dead, which means I CAN go back and kill him”. While every sci-fi fan can think of dozens of ways to get around that little catch-22, it always seems inviolate in the context of a story…until it isn’t, of course.
A big question might be why Clara saw the need to go straight to threats and chicanery to get this sorted. Likely she’s seen The Doctor go on about the laws of time so many times she knew what he’d say, but as we see, she’s clearly and obviously wrong.
“Remember we did this before” – Clara found Danny accidentally in Listen – here they’re doing it again, but on purpose. And once again, they show up at a moment important to Danny’s life, namely the bit at the end. There’s a question of exactly when they’ve arrived, though. Based on what we’ve seen in past episodes, people’s exit interviews, for lack of a better term, seem to occur immediately after passing. This would mean they are in fact a few days in Clara’s past, immediately after the accident. But if there’s the chance that the process of scanning and encoding of the mind onto the Nethersphere takes some time, they may be in her present, or a bit more.
“White Noise off the telly” – in the world of parapsychology, this is known as Electronic voice phenomenon, the idea that the background noise on broadcasts and recording are supernatural in nature. The movement also sparked a horror film starring Michael Keaton. The idea of voices coming out of the TV was also touched on in modern Clara’s first adventure, The Bells of St. John.
“I feel like I’m missing something…obvious” – Well, yes, but it’s hardly the first time. He failed utterly to recall the Madame DePompadour in Deep Breath (although in fairness, he didn’t actually learn the name of the ship) and he completely forgot the existence of the Great Intelligence a year before that. Well, you have a couple thousand years of memories, a few are going to slip through the cracks. That’s surely why he keeps a diary. And BTW, as fun as the moment was then the penny dropped, I can only imagine how great it would have been if we hadn’t all already known the Cybermen were in the episode.
“My Birthday, when is it?” – November 23 is not only Clara Oswald’s Birthday, it’s the birthday of Clara Oswin Oswald from The Snowmen, and presumably that of Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks. And yes, it’s the date that Doctor Who was first broadcast in 1963.
That’s a Matrix dataslice – a Gallifreyan hard drive” – The Matrix, also referred to as the APC net, was a massive repository of the memories and personalities of past and passed Time Lords. The Doctor entered the Net in The Deadly Assassin, and experienced it as a virtual world. So yes, there was a computer-based virtual world called The Matrix several decades before those two fellows decided to put Keanu Reeves in one.
“Imagine you could upload dying minds into that – edit them, re-arrange them” – Oh, you mean like The Library did for CAL in Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead? A computer that houses the mind of River Song? A story written by Steven Moffat? Odd that there’s a similarity there, eh?
“We can help with all these difficult feelings” – Have you caught the similarity for all the people who’ve appeared in the Nethersphere? They’re all military – The half-faced man was in charge of his ship, Gretchen was a soldier, the policeman had at least regimental police training, and Danny served in the Middle East. Perfect fodder for warriors, once you get rid of the emotions. The goal for the minds in the Nethersphere is to be downloaded into Cybermen. In the past, an emotional inhibitor would prevent the human portions of the system from going mad from the experience. Similarly, the trauma of having the emotions forcibly erased would likely damage the psyche, rendering them unusable. But if you could get the person to delete the emotions willingly, a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, that would result in a clean slate to build on the trained military base mind. Chilling and efficient.
“I’m Missy…short for Mistress” – As in his appearance in The Sound of Drums, The Master has clearly been setting up this plan for a long time, enough to set up the fake “white noise” discovery, get the multiple 3W institutes built, no to mention harvest the dying minds. Indeed, considering the first ones we saw collected were from the Victorian era and centuries in the future, one wonders if she’s been grabbing minds for centuries, or somehow able to pluck them from across time. And if you want to have one more recurring idea, The master is once again taking the human race, putting them in metal casings, and using them as an army. Last time he was doing it to living humans and calling them the Toclafane, and now it’s with dead ones and making them Cybermen, but largely it’s a very similar plan.
“You know the key strategic weakness of the Human Race…the dead outnumber the living” – So yeah, basically this is a zombie movie with sci-fi trappings. We got a mummy a few weeks back, we’ve had vampires and werewolves, so why not?
BIG BAD WOLF REPORT –
LORDS AND LADIES – People have clamored for a female Doctor for years; surely a female Master is progress? After a few teasing mentions that it was possible for a Time Lord to switch gender during regeneration, this is the first time we’ve seen it on screen.
The last time we saw The Master was at the end of The End of Time, being sent back into the time lock with the rest of Gallifrey and the high council of the Time Lords. Since then we have learned that the entire planet Gallifrey was spun sideways out of the universe entirely, giving the impression that it had been destroyed in the Time War with the Daleks (who of course have not been seen since). The Time Lords were able to slip enough energy to reset The Doctor’s regeneration cycle, so one must presume that there might have been enough space to let one Time Lord pass through as well. One must hope we’ll here more about how he came back, and became a she, in the coming week.
“Clearly you have not received the official 3W greetings package” – Theories about the exact relationship between The Doctor and The Master are manifold. But considering Missy described The Doctor as “my boyfriend” at the beginning of the season, and the fervor of the Louisiana Lip Lock she slaps on him here, one could be forgiven for suggesting that this new gender permutation affords The Master some latitude in her attitude.
“Have you ever killed anybody?” – One of Danny’s students asks him this in the first scene we meet him, and here the question is at the end of the series getting answered. The event is clearly something that affected him seriously – it’s likely the event that made him leave the military.
“Be strong, even if it breaks your heart” – Surely the latest lesson in How To Be The Doctor.
“I love you” – Some are claiming that this is a clue that this isn’t really Danny, or an incomplete simulation of him. I think it’s more obvious than that – Danny is sacrificing himself for Clara. It’s not that he can’t remember the little details about their life, he just can’t believe she’s testing him at this very stressful moment. So when she threatens to end the call if all he can say is “I love you”, he’s pushing her away so she won’t come to this horrific place and risk getting trapped there.
NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO – UNIT fights the Cybermen again, and The Doctor has a great fall. Death in Heaven is a week away.
Collectors love completing a set. So imagine the joy of players of Doctor Who: Legacy when it was announced that Tom Baker, a.k.a. “Four,” had been approved for addition to the game, thus giving a full set of Doctors. The download code for Tom Baker was released earlier today via Kotaku.
The free-to-play game has gained a steady stream of additional content since its release last December– dozens of new Companions, costumes for both friends and Doctors alike, new levels based on past episodes and seasons of the show, and a plethora of enemies new and old.
With the new season, new content has kicked into high gear. Levels and characters based on each new episode have been added every week shortly after their broadcast.
By keeping in touch via the game’s Facebook page or their newsletter, players can receive free download codes for the new content, as well as being able to receive alternate versions of the characters by playing special expert levels, or via the fan area. The fan area opens up once a player buys five time crystals, the game’s premium currency, and is well worth the minor expense.
Special black and white editions of The Brigadier and the First and Second Doctors give a clue as the depth and detail the game offers.
Doctor Who has been steadily increasing his footprint in the videogame world. Official Minecraft skins were released recently for the Xbox version of the game, and the BBC has just unveiled a new game for the CBBC website, The Doctor and the Dalek, an educational game that teaches programming skills by allowing the player to take control of a malfunctioning Dalek.