And it was a privilege to watch it. Now we have Who that is prosaic. A sequence of things happening without originality or substance, where the "things" have to accelerate to increasingly desperate ends to hold the attention of a dwindling audience in the streaming era. I cannot imagine viewers coming back for these characters, for a show this However, I still remain hopeful that the circle will turn and the show will rise again.
I have to. And when that day comes I look forward to reading about it here. Until then, good luck my dears. This is some of the best written praise not only of the S8 and S10 finales, but the Moffat era at its best as a whole. I'd actually rank this story above that. Damning with faint praise here, doubtlessly. Battle felt completely inert. There were plenty of incompetent moments here, but it didn't feel as inert as Battle.
That might be due to casting Sasha Dhawan as the Master, who is the saving grace of all of this. It makes you wish that he had been chosen instead of Jodie, and was encouraged to look back at the other Doctors for developing the character. All season 10 had the same inertness and ennui that TatR had.
Good quote from Talalay. It's true that Moffat went for the poetic more than what was scientifically feasible. That's why we ended up with Dr. Science cringing at things like the Moon being a giant space egg, and plants pumping out a lot highly flammable oxygen into the atmossphere actually keeps the atmosphere from getting set on fire by solar flares. He wasn't as worried about the science as long as the poetry was right.
Now, with Chibnall, we've still abandoned the science but lost the poetry, and there's nothing of substance left, except some fanwank that goes so far that it might have made even the late Craig HInton blush. Sasha Dewan gave me a new appreciation for the subtlety, nuance and wit that Anthony Ainley brought to the role. On the reveal: I liked half of it — the Doctor having pre-Hartnell lives is fine with me.
Cyber-Lords looked neat, but that was about the only thing worth praising. The Master is profoundly boring after Missy, the companions are still a big mess of nothing, Ko Sharmus was nonsense I just wish I could say I cared more?
The Doctor isn't a chosen special one unless a future writer wants to spin it like that. She's an absolute nobody, has no sure place in this universe. Her only known distingushing mark is regeneration. There's not the slightest thing Randian about it!
Surely not the slightest thing. The Randian vision is that you are what you choose now to be, and that your birth and heritage don't matter: no one is "chosen" except insofar as they are self-chosen. Maybe a new showrunner could write a series in which the Doctor gets over the shock and begins to believe in her own massive importance to the history of the Time Lords, only to then find that it was jsut the Master tampering with The Matrix and they were just a common or garden renagade Time Lord after all.
That was perhaps the only part I think I enjoyed - that Chibnall very, very carefully didn't 'prove' any of it, and got around a lot by using the "redacted" idea. All he actually did was posit an implausible origin story via The Master. I'm not remotely convinced that any of it is "true" as it was merely Matrix Archive Footage tm. Anyone who ever says that Moffat cheats needs to be forced to watch this.
How could this be the same person who wrote Broadchurch? Agreed he seems to have left himself a lot of wriggle room to get out of it again. I'm sort of hoping it turns out like the scene in one of the Hitchhiker books when Zapod Beeblebrox enters a device that shows him his place in the universe. Most entering are driven mad by the realisation of how insignificant they are, Zaphod comes out fine because he's realised just how important he is roughly where we are now with the Doctor.
But then Zaphod discovers this is only because he's actually in a mini universe designed as a trap for him That's what I was thinking during this episode. It would be consistent with the Doctor not having a regeneration limit. They were lying to him again. I can see the criticism of the Doctor no longer being a "mediocrity" who stumbled their way towards heroism, but is your concern to do with "great man theory" or something similar?
Perhaps it is imagined that this is Chibnall's schtick, but we don't know where "the timeless child" came from. This is a complete mystery. And her importance in Time Lord history is only of great significance is we believe the Time Lords own view of themselves as very important, and now it appears again but in a new way that they aren't all that important.
Perhaps this is healthy. And the Doctor, as well as still not knowing who she is, is also missing a lot of her own history. Maybe this is easier to get out of than we imagine.
One thing I'm in some agreement on, That tension could have been resolved with something more profound and interesting than Ko Shamus swapping with the Doctor, and right now I think the episode deserved better than that. Possibly the Time Lords who sent the wisps of energy weren't aware of the Doctor being the Timeless Child and already having plenty of regeneration energy to spare.
It could end up supercharging him and would explain why the regeneration was violent enough for him to shoot down Daleks and Dalek ships with the energy Smith was putting out. Even without that, 'running medical experiments on your adopted child' is a bit ethically dubious. Chibnall's run is just a fever dream brought on by the Doctor's regeneration sickness. That's my headcanon, and I'm sticking to it.
It took me longer to cultivate the words in my head that you arrived at so eloquently. If this episode, or "arc", is designed to be a slowly smoldering gotcha, unfolding at some awkward time later, I will be even more annoyed.
Too many holes. Too many inconsistencies. Truly, irredeemably awful. Some of the most emotionally hollow drivel that I have ever watched. Did anyone feel a thing when that guest character died at the beginning buying time for Graham, Yaz, and the others? Was there any catharsis from Barrsiton Selmy rushing in to be the one who really saves the day?
Did a single moment of any of this cohere narratively? Hand this trash to the Daleks and let them exterminate it. Someone already said it, but surely this episode, for all its faults, isn't the moral stain that "Kerblam! Still not got over that. Lore bollocks I can handle, the Doctor siding with what it should be obvious are the villains is so I suppose it's a matter of how you define "worst episode". Even an ethical atrocity of a Who story will still usually have some odd complications, nuances, maybe a shred of creativity in there.
A reason that someone might hypothetically enjoy or be interested in watching it. We've surely had enough Talons discourse to see that by now. Whereas other episodes might be ethically unremarkable, but represent terrifying sheer voids of artistic value through their sheer emptiness. The kind of product that makes you wonder what the hell you're doing with your life. Kerblam in this regard is perfectly competent. For Chibnall, coming off the success of Broadchurch and being touted as the next big thing on TV, and an award winner, simply continuing Doctor Who was never going to be a positive step.
The show is beloved by fans and derided by the industry, and the BBC itself. Change the sex of the lead character he only took on Doctor Who if that was part of the dealnot for narrative reasons but for the shock value.
And this episode is the culmination of that approach. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. Or do you just mean the Chibnall stuff? Oh, and thanks for the reply.
It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's not universally derided. Apart from anything else, who the fuck from the general public wants to watch a short segment from 'The Brain of Morbius' being explained, as part of their Sunday evening entertainment? I think the last time the show ever tried to do a 'this will change everything' moment was when the Valeyard's identity was revealed. At least that had implications.
This doesn't. It means nothing. The Valeyard's identity was mostly changing the season-long story it was actually telling. Not a very coherent or good story, but it was at least trying.
And hey, it had the whole "Doctor Who was put on hiatus for not being good enough? Let's have the Doctor watch Doctor Who and argue about how good it is, whether it should be violent, omniscient narrators and such" schtick, which is more than Chibnall is going to give you. We're actually re-watching Season 23 now.
The Valeyard is profoundly awful idea, but Michael Jayston is so terrific in the role that it almost doesn't matter. Sacha Dhawan is admittedly doing Simm, but he's so terrific that he gets away with it. In fact, he out-acts Jodie, especially in this episode, where she's stuck with just standing around blankly. The best thing about the Valyard was something Moffatt did with it, and it was so subtle most people didn't even catch it.
Supposedly, the Valyard was born of the Doctor's worst impulses in the transition between his 12th and final incarnations. A resentment that drove him to seriously consider letting Wilfred die to save his own live. My own personal head-cannon is that 10 post Journey's End has been so traumatised by the aborted Regeneration that's why he starts to go mad.
Especially since it explains the question of "Why has no-one else ever done this? How bad? It turns the Doctor into the worst version of himself. You know, this is actually kind of nihilistically hilarious. Like, I hated it, because it had all the qualities of a Chibnall disaster, but It's sort of freeing. See, I loved what Hell Bent did for Clara. And I was never one of those people who wanted a big Gallifrey epic or anything. But when I started the show, I got really emotionally invested in the Doctor's relationship with their home.
I was so happy when Day of the Doctor happened. And I suppose I kind o missed the point of Series 8 a bit, about how the Doctor was never going to get a great big "coming home" moment. So when Moffat whom I adore declined to deliver a "and the Doctor finally comes home" beat, I was frustrated, and felt like that one little bit of catharsis was basically never going to happen to me.
Over the years, the degree to which I have cared about the series' lore has steadily declined. The parts I cared about, as a New Series fan - the Time War, and its consequences - became increasingly irrelevant. The main source of stories about that corner of the mythos was Big Finish, finally allowed to eat up the scraps once they'd gone cold and stale. I had to learn to content myself with the every-day charms of Doctor Who. I mean, those have become Temporarily Unavailable, due to Chibnall, but.
You Know. Happy days will come again and all that. So this episode, we get The Time Lords are no longer the Doctor's origin story, they're just a thing that happened to the Doctor. I love me some Hartnell-Era Character Development, and the Doctor's forgotten history as a Time Lord Super Agent doesn't really diminish it in my eyes - she doesn't remember it, so we're still basically in the VNAs' territory of "well that's all quite interesting, but who cares?
Chibnall can do his worst, but it literally won't matter at all. He's Chibnall-proofed it. What's he going to do, give her another explicit origin that someone else can easily rewrite? Who cares? The end result, really, is just that the Time Lords don't matter anymore. And yeah, that might be the bit of the show that's broken now - if anybody ever REALLY wants to use them for anything interesting again, they're gonna require a hell of a lot of super-glue.
But otherwise There's gonna be someone after Chibnall. Someone good, hopefully. Someone who can put the twinkle back in the series' eye. And they're never going to have to give a rat's ass about the Time War, or Rassilon, or Morbius, or the Rani, or any of it ever again. This was horrible. I hated it. But it's kind of delightful. Badly recreating all the stuff with the Moment genuinely made my skin crawl, though. Chibbs does seem to love to piss on the Moffat Era's grave.
Sorry for barging in with some probably unearned optimism but Doctor Who has always felt like a show where the biggest mistakes it makes can yield some of the best moments later on, so I don't think this is necessarily the end of the show. I know series 11 was a serious step down in quality -- the kind that happens when you kick Sarah Dollard, Jamie Mathieson, Peter Harness, and Catherine Tregenna to the curb and replace all their episodes with Chris Chibnall ones.
But series 11, up through "It Takes You Away", was still a weird, creative little show. It was the kind of show that had beyond-the-universe spirits incarnating as baby frogs; had giant spiders defeated by the bass of a Stormzy song; had bloviating Jack-fromRock-type businessmen mistaken for Ed Sheehan and then get confronted with toilet monsters. It also had beautifully real threats like Alabama policemen; carelessly-implemented British colonial policy; and your mom getting fired from a menial job for being in the wrong place when the boss is doing something embarrassing.
It had the Doctor putting Amazon. Series 11 had the Doctor reconnecting with her tinkerer-inventor roots, and confronted with the notion of maybe sometimes having good manners when confronted with ordinary people who deserve the benefit of them.
And if most of the plots fell apart in the end, well, the later Tennant years had more than their share of those too. It felt like "Doctor Who" being run by the "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" guy: underwhelming and semi-competent and not something I'd watch without a prior emotional investment, but also, varied and a good bet to be fun. And it's been neither fun NOR worth taking seriously ever since. I hope the show is allowed to recover from him. And I hope it can. I don't share your affection for S11 and, sorry, I still hate Kerblam!
For all that S12 is regarded as a step up over S11, it's telling that its episode by the era's best writer - Fugitive of the Judoon - is less straightforwardly good than Demons of the Punjab. Underneath the excitement of Ruth, FOTJ is missing the actually interesting bits of that story beyond its spectacle. Nothing in Series 12 is worthy of polishing Demons of the Punjab's shoes. I despised S11 but it had at least one properly good story, with clarity of purpose and an interesting point of view.
S12 is the first NuWho season to lack even that. Yeah, I have to agree with that. What else is there? I felt like I was more positive to S12 as it was airing, but I think that's because I was a lot more hopeful about S11, and was actively disappointed by it. Here, my expectations were rock-bottom, and I found myself giving episodes points for stuff like "the Doctor has an emotion" or "it didn't actively suck off Jeff Bezos". Full speed ahead, and damn coherence and things being good ideas!
I do think that this was planned - to have a light introduction series, and then bring in more lore and a heavier arc. In theory, it's a solid idea. It's kind of what the RTD seasons did. Start with the basics - blue box, screwdriver, then bring in the Daleks, more info about the Time War, then the next season Cybermen and old companions, then the Master and then Davros and Sontarans As with most of what Chibnall does though, the execution was wildly misjudged.
The first season was so "light" that is was completely disposable, and then the second season suddenly veers into a cavalcade of myth-arcs and secret origins and jerking off over the Shabogans and the Panopticon. The result is utterly incoherent.
I've been struggling to articulate why I prefer the aggressively mediocre season 11 to whatever this season was, and this is helpful - thanks. I don't particularly want to be positive about such a colourless, ersatz story, but I do like that Chibbo has effectively restored Doctor Who to where it was in the pilot episode, when the Doctor was "eons and universes" away from home, and there was no cute promise to one day return.
Obviously I lol along when people say things like "it was all downhill after that policeman in the first episode! So it rather amuses me that we seem to be heading back that way. Although losing Susan's ink blot moment was a shame. I don't think the "twelve regenerations" line was about solving a plot problem, precisely, although it was still for story purposes rather than fanwank ones, obviously. I seem to remember the idea was to introduce uncertainty about whether the Doctor would regenerate if killed, with that combined with the Morbius Doctors, for general threat-increasing purposes.
And then the Morbius Doctors could be easily forgotten about at actual regeneration time. Doubt Holmes would have tried to claim that he was "revealing" something. The regen limit was introduced to give the Master motivation. He was suddenly on his last one and wanted more. Which is why it always amuses me when people treat it like a hard limit - Holmes obviously didn't think of it as a hard limit when he came up with it, or there would have been no story in the first place.
It does that too, but I'm sure I remember reading, perhaps in the 4th Doctor handbook back in the day, that the Morbius Doctors were done specifically with that in mind. I can't fathom that this is what people want from Doctor Who. I also can't believe that it's gone from a bland but forward-looking version of the show to a parallel universe where Attack of the Cybermen and Arc of Infinity are classics in the space of one series!
It's bizarre and depressing. Anyway, thank you El for your reviews this year. I don't always agree with you, but I know you'll cut through the hype and concisely, honestly and thoughtfully critique the episodes.
It's genuinely the most I get out of the current iteration of the show. That was, for me, a move away from something of which I had grown less fond over time about the Moffat period. I thought the Ruth Doctor put it well: Doctor "Is it true? That was so boringly terrible. This just has nothing to do with what I like about Doctor Who, nothing to do with what I like about television, nothing to do with what I like about stories. I rewatched Silver Nemesis on the weekend and had a far better time than I did here.
How utterly bland this was. I might give the next series a miss, too. Thanks for the reviews of this season Elizabeth. You suffered so I and probably many others didn't have to. This was the first season of Doctor Who, having watched since I was 4 back inthat I couldn't bring myself to watch, having been utterly depressed by season I still wanted to keep my ear to the ground Who-wise, and this website was one of a handful of sources which helped me do so.
Your reviews have probably been infinitely more entertaining than actually watching the wretched season - cheers! My response to the Exciting Revelations was, "OK, but so what? What stories can we tell with it? Damn if I can think of anything. Perhaps it might be possible to pick up on a connection between the many avatars of various gods in Hindu mythology? My knowledge in that direction is pretty scattershot.
The idea of a pattern that recurs endlessly, much as each successive Doctor is a new expression of that pattern. There could be a story in the idea of the Doctor as not a very good person, working for the Division I would just like to mention that I screamed internally at the mention of a secret organisation for Idiots And Ducks (CD things, as I usually dowho decided to become a better person by starting themselves over from scratch.
But this is weak tea. It would take a better writer than me to make something of it. Even the half-human thing at least suggested some fun ideas. The one good outcome is that continuity-obsessive fanboys are being reduced to their constituent fundamental particles by the sheer bloody audacity of it all.
I've had half a prescribed Xanax and it makes me even more loquacious than normal. Bring back the Looms, I say! Unfortunately, Kate, when you ask "What stories can we tell with it? Chris Chibnall has proven -- first with "Ranskoor", then with this -- that his version of Doctor Who does not need "stories" as a prerequisite to filming.
Of course this will be "picked up on". Which is why, like Elizabeth, I won't be back. I hope the show lives long enough to be run by someone good again. I'm not optimistic, but I hope. I suspect that next season we find out that the Doctor is actually from the race of otherdimensional alien spies in Spyfall. That would make it just so much worse. Chibnall might follow up on whether the Division became the Celestial Invtervention Agency or if there are two organizations trying to do the same thing.
But, as the Black Lectroid Commander said, "So what? Big deal. Probably not getting Doctor Ruth except in flashbacks or mental images of the Doctor talking to herself like in this episode, which would be a shame.
It would have been nice to have had a regeneration and get Doctor Ruth. My fear is that Ruth is only the beginning. Multi-Doctor stories are hard to do since all the other Doctors are deceased, too old, or have moved on to other things. And based on Ruth's easy familiarity with guns, I reckon quite a few of them are going to be awful people played by the special guest star of the week.
Just wanted to expand on one of the points our hostess made:- The whole placing the main character at the heart of the mythology is indeed something that the series has been better off rejecting. The plot turns on the idea that this is a secret that the Time Lords had to suppress because it was unsuitable as a myth.
I hear the Rise of Skywalker comparisons, but unlike that movie this episode opens up a whole lot of additional history to ambiguous scrutiny. Charitably, bc the Doctor is vast, they contain multitudes. Uncharitably: bc Chibnall needed more "oh shit" factor so he escalated from singular to plural. So real talk, which has the more spectacularly uncomfortable implications? The Doctor tricking the first non-white Master into a Nazi concentration camp?
Or the same Doctor asserting to the same Master that her genetic origins "make [her] better"? Absolutely agree. Will most likely not care from this day forward. Last season was horrible, I put it on cast. This season was better, but cast still in the way. Cyberman episode was good and story intriguing, until it unraveled with Master showing up and then the Galifrey story. Spot on! The Division is such a route one terrible idea too!
I hope the lie about the timeless child is the masters lie. Retcon is possible I skipped the series and checked out the last episode to familiarise myself with the so-called 'game-changing' revelations. It was all such moribund drivel that I couldn't be bothered to accept any of it. I suppose it's not so different from how others felt about the Moffat era in the past. But the comparison would be so unfair. Moffat's imagination, wit, conceptual cleverness and obvious immersion in the kind of story-making that he loves comes through in all his best Doctor Who stories.
This cynical iteration of the series exists purely to continue to sell the "iconic status" of the brand. There is nothing else going on whatsoever. For the program's 70th anniversary, Lance Parkin will amend "The Infinity Doctors" into "The Aleph-1 Doctors" and insist it's all true, with the possible exception of the Custard Cream dispenser. I've often found the density of Doctor Who's Gallifreyan lore to be the worst part of the show. I've seen people whooping for joy because this is undoing the canon or something to that effect, which I'd contest it isn't so much as all that canon now comes with a House Of Leaves nest of footnotes containing more delicious canon about why that canon was in fact not the canon.
A quadratic equation of canon. I suppose I'll keep watching because I'm bad at letting go. Maybe time to finally write that fanfic idea where the Doctor's next incarnation is Grace Jones.
I have to admit any time I see someone "whooping for joy because this is undoing the canon or something to that effect," I now go "ok I'm done with this show. But there are for too many who seem to feel destroying established canon is good for the sake of destroying established canon.
You NEED canon especially in a long running series because it builds a world, it creates a framework and consequences to actions. Destroy canon and 9 out of 10 times you'll probably destroy the show. Look at what's happening with starwars, star trek, dr who, possibly James Bond. Its the show equivilent of "Oh gravity is just a theory look as I throw this car off a building onto the crowded street below. They weren't enlightened enough to understand that disbileiving in gravity is a good thing.
Which is. Perhaps when I throw one off tommorow they will be more enlightened and join me in a world free of gravity. That is a point I keep making. In a novel or single film no one would say it is good to have an inconsistent narrative, so why is it a virtue to introduce narrative inconsistency in a serial format? Hello, Mr S. He needs a showrunner editing him into the right shape, not the other way round.
That said, there is every reason to defend well-intentioned attempts to bring change to a narrative superstructure that's been going so long and been written so extensively that it actively chills writers away from exploring new ideas and new ways of looking at the world.
I'm of the view that canon is something that should enhance a work being created, not act as an inescapable straightjacket for writers - and while it's always good for viewers to be familiar with a show, no series' overarching text should be so impenetrably dense that viewers need to revisit a Bible's-worth of backstory to truly understand what's going on. In the case of Doctor Who, it's even more needed, where the underlying premise is inherently more fantastic than scientific - and where canon has already contradicted itself so many times in the past that even The Moff felt the need to lampshade the intensive incoherency in one of his Cybermen episodes.
Then there's the time war. It seems to me that - by it's very nature - a time war isn't something that you can live through and then it's past for you.
A time war is a conflict between two forces doing all they can to undermine each other's past, present and future existence. Once you're in it, you're in it for all of your life, beginning to end - otherwise, what's it good for, narratively, other than providing a slightly more florid backdrop? As soon as he or she got involved, the Doctor's entire personal history became something that should have become subject to serious, ongoing change. I can see why writers would shy away from something so complex and difficult to express to viewers, but it is what should have happened, I think.
While I've no intention of defending what is clearly a broken episode, not all of it's ideas are bad ones. To my mind, changing the game's a good thing, regardless of the headaches we all end up with.
Individual Doctor Who stories are serials when they have more than one episode, but Doctor Who as a whole isn't. Narrative inconsistency can even be a useful tool in things which are written by a single person.
It doesn't happen very often because the assumption of a consistent narrative is a very powerful storytelling tool which most stories like to rely upon, but if a story doesn't need to do that, it's useful for things like drawing attention to the fictional nature of things, matching the way that truth in the real world is very often unknowable and the convention of the omniscient narrator isn't very realistic, representing a multiple-perspective understanding of the world, or just humour.
It's naturally attractive to the left because right-wing politics can be described as a false grand narrative from on high which justifies the holding of power and the majority of wealth by the ruling class, while left-wing politics finds all the holes and inconsistencies in this narrative.
So left-wingers are naturally disinclined to want grand narratives from on high to be 'true'. I would argue there is narrative inconsistency and narrative inconsistency. As you say, in some cases it is a useful tool. Turn of the Screw type unreliability can work well in a story. At other times, violating your established rules simply yanks the reader out of the story.
I suppose you may even want to do that, as in, say, At Swim-Two-Birds, where the artificiality of the tale is the point. But in most cases, the first is a viable approach, while the second is not. To have your protagonist described as a middle aged hot dog vendor, only to have him acting as an elderly female president in the second chapter, and a flying teenage girl in the third is likely to engender confusion at best, frustration at worst.
I suppose it all depends on how reliable the source of information is. If your entire tale is based upon an unreliable narrator, then obviously you can play games with such things. But if you establish some level of reliable information which is what canon would presumably bethen to break it one needs at least some means of papering over the change.
Obviously, the smaller the change, the less relevant -- except to the most obsessive readers -- but major changes of facts established as reliable can harm the tale. Four 4! My own head canon and I'm sticking with it is that Sasha Dewan isn't playing the Master at all. He's playing the Meddling Monk. The worst part? I just happened to rewatch Day of the Doctor the day before Timeless Children, and so I had the mental image of the Doctor's joy at having saved all those Gallifreyan children in my head when the Master gloated at killing every single one of them and then fridging their bodies for I almost forgot the other worst part!
The way this episode shits on the entirety of Capaldi's last season! So what was the ultimate result of 12's decision to spare Missy's life and commit himself to decades or even centuries of trying to rehabilitate her? She regenerates into a psychotic loon who commits genocide against the Doctor's people.
I think I may be the first to take a cautious step here and say that while I can't say I liked the episode, my feelings about the revealed information are How does the stuffiest, most bureaucratic civilization in the universe sustain itself through this magical, reinventive process that they could never have imagined on their own?
Because they powered it off a child, of course. It's the basic structure of Doctor Who itself reconstituted as backstory: a dull political institution given life by a child's imagination. As for the Doctory bits: You say the episode places the Doctor at the center of the mythology.
And yet no more so than the show has already done, in my opinion. The Smith years' mythology centers entirely around the Doctor, and in a far more detailed way than this did - the trap, the assassination attempt, River Song, the Silence, the crack, his name - the answer to every mythical question the show posed then led inevitably back to the Doctor.
Try as I might I just can't see this revelation as demonstrating the same degree of self-involvement that those seasons did. You write that the Doctor now has "magical powers above and beyond other Time Lords". Also true. And yet that's always been true. The Doctor was always an oddity and a renegade, a wanderer who hailed from a people that were fixed in place. You wrote as much in your piece on The Deadly Assassin. You also raise the idea that the Doctor's mythology is more central to the universe of the show than Gallifrey's.
One can take issue with the literalizing being done here, of course, but in practical terms, the Doctor doesn't have anything that she didn't already implicitly have - Moffat himself already raised the possibility that the Doctor was fully immortal. To be honest, I think it's an almost Holmesian move. Holmes's villains were often people of grand backstories who devolved into mediocrity and resorted to cruelty to regain their place.
Why not, then, a hero who was also once a mythical figure but responds to his fall from grace by embracing it and becoming kind? The Doctor is no longer "the schlubby mediocrity who ran away"?
Why not? The Doctor is a healing, reparative figure who once committed mass murder on a cosmic scale. Why can't she also be a mediocre nobody who was once the basis for an entire civilization? Is it really so much worse to imagine our central character, not as a Victorian explorer of half-hearted privilege, but as a lost child who ran from the society that was powered on her suffering and her imagination? And I mean it's not like this is likely to change the Doctor's personality in the long run.
She's been a mythic figure before and has always found a way to shrug it off. The events of The Three Doctors were forgotten. Xoanon was reprogrammed. His gave notice on his job as the White Guardian's agent. The Other passed into fan folklore. The title of Time's Champion was left behind. He erased himself from Earth's history. He undid his destruction of Gallifrey. The Doctor is always running away from being some sort of grand mythical figure, yes, but to do that they have to find themselves in the position of being a grand mythical figure in the first place, if only for a while.
As far as I can tell this is not a special restructuring of Doctor Who's universe around the Doctor. It's a restructuring of the universe away from the Time Lords. It's a solution to the paradox that Gallifrey is simultaneously very important to the Doctor's character and rather dull: decide that it isn't very important after all and move on. I've gradually come around to the idea that the Chibnall years have some value as a sort of chaotic breeding-ground for things better writers can play with later.
And look what this reveal gives us. A great, irrevocable cracking-open of the idea that the Doctor can be anyone and that anyone can be the Doctor. An entirely fresh slate to play with the Doctor's history that isn't just "Gallifrey" or "The Time War". Personally I feel invigorated by that idea. Shame the episode sucked though, eh? I like the Capaldi years a lot, but functionally this is at most a continuation of existing trends from the end of RTD onward. I'd go as far as to say that The Timeless Child is actually less obnoxious than the Smith era, which defined the Doctor as the soul important thing in the universe.
The simple solution to this is to establish where the Doctor came from, and put something greater than her on the other side. She's not the greatest Time Lord, which they have been since Tom Baker at least. She's the little lost outcast from another dimension. That's interesting as a potential way to keep another go round. I don't think the episode is great, but also, it doesn't need retconning, it just needs expanding.
In fact my solution is to have the Breech be a source of threats, have the Daleks be threats, and maybe establish a new Highest Authority. The big difference is that the Moffat era centered the story around the Doctor, whereas this is centering the universe around them. I would say though that it was the lore of the show from tothe same way that the Guardians are the show's lore for a lot of the 4th and 5th Doctor, or the "Masterplan", or "Vague Ramblings", were for the 7th Doctor.
On the other hand, I went over your Sometime Never post and couldn't help but realize it was tailor made to this episode. I don't think it had the right instincts in a lot of ways, and I wouldn't choose to have this be my Doctor Who. But at the same time, this feels a bit like reacting to The Deadly Assassin by saying "We've gone from the Doctor being less powerful than the Time Lords to being accidentally President of them, and saving them.
The show has collapsed into itself. But that's on later writers. The Doctor still needs to have become the Doctor with Hartnell of course, and that brings me to my major issue. Seriously, the Ruth Doctor stuff is terrible and needs an incredibly complex retcon in a novel or something. Jo Martin is good, but she shouldn't be a pre-Hartnell Doctor.
Can we make her a regenerated Susan who has taken up her Grandfather's Legacy and assumed they are dead because of the events of the War Games or something. Yes, admittedly the centering is happening on a greater scale in-universe, but the logic underlying Doctor Who's universe is already so chaotic that I just don't factor it into my enjoyment of the show.
Doctor Who operates first and foremost on the personal scale, and so how the universe is said to work matters a great deal less to me than how the stories themselves move around the character. What it boils down to for me is that Whittaker's Doctor, in spite of her on-paper Chosen One origin story, still spends her day-to-day existence thoroughly not bothered about who she is, where she comes from, what her name is, where she's buried, et cetera, and so in practice lacks the worst aspects of the Chosen One archetype, while Smith's, in spite of having the regular "mediocre Time Lord" backstory, seems to be constantly fussing over his dark past, his prophesied future, how he chose his name as a sacred promise, fulfilling his "title" like it's a job, grappling with his own legend, and so acts more like a self-involved Chosen One - albeit, as you say, with a degree of ambivalence.
Of course, if we get Whittaker next season repeatedly wielding "I'm the Timeless Child" like some badass threat, or if the whole season is about her going on some arduous quest to discover everything about her backstory, I'm going to hate it. And I don't necessarily trust Chibnall not to go down that road. But I also can't see this as a uniquely egregious example of Doctor Who writing a mythological check it doesn't quite cash. You've pointed out many times that one of the defining traits of Doctor Who is that it's a story that never has to end.
The Timeless Children, in spite of its actual storytelling, establishes that Doctor Who as a story never has to begin, either. That's ultimately why my feelings on the reveal tend to the positive rather than defaulting to "it'll be soft-retconned in a few years anyway".
In the long run it's opening up the possibility of a Doctor Who that isn't defined by the same iconography, and I can't not find that exciting.
My fear is that at some point, it will come out that Rassilon is just Tecnet or whatever her name was who changed her name at some point so that no one would realize she had unlimited regenerations too. Ruth must still be post Hartnell since she calls herself The Doctor riiiiight? I'd be more upset by the revelation that the Doctor went by the name The Doctor before leaving Gallifrey than anything to do with timeless children.
Maybe it's her Division secret codename. I didn't even mind some of the ideas at play here- the cyber time lords, in the hands of an actual writer, could have been really fun and perverse.
The concept of the time lords stealing regeneration from a refugee child- the basic shape of that could really work. But the Chosen One bullshit, the specificity of how it's told, the lack of an actual story or drama, it all added up to one of the worst stories the show has ever done.
Probably the worst. I'm with you - the shape of thing isn't per se a problem. Of course the Time Lords got their abilities off the back of exploitation. This is the civilisation that abandoned the guy who gave them time travel to an eternity in a nether world and who merrily dragged a planet across space on the off chance some of their secrets leaked out. There is a story to tell there, reckoning with that.
But making the Doctor the exploited one, apart from the cringy inherent Extra Specialness it brings, feels to me like a dodge. I know there are people who find this revelation affirming, a way of bringing in ideas about colonisation and the exploitation of one group of people for the enrichment of others - and it does, and I'm happy they can read it that way.
But by pinning all of this on the Doctor, it retroactively excuses them of all the snobbishness and elitism from which they have benefited for as long as we've been watching the show.
The Doctor no longer has to be the one reckoning with that past, choosing to be better than their people. They get a pass for the kind of rubbish that e. They are absolved of the crimes of the Time Lords, from which they materially benefited. And - to stretch a point - outside the text, it no longer matters that we haven't yet had a non-white actor cast as the lead because, look!
I'm probably being terrible cynical and this could get engaged with in a satisfying way yet, but two Chibnall-run seasons have made me expect that dodging around the issue is far more likely. Of course the Time Lords did something like that, just as you say. I am such a sucker for that sort of thing. Not good to leave a Death Particle lying around.
Well quite. I'm generally of the opinion that if you want to shake things up and do something different, cramming in a Deadly Genesis copyright Marvel comics who just love pulling similar stunts for the Time Lords is never actually going to serve that function in any interesting fashion. What do they think we do? Bow, wow, wow, here come the dogs Ruff ruff, here come the dogs Get down, here come the dogs Mind your leg, roll over and beg.
This is a story Of fruit cut from the vine Forgot and left to rot Long before its time. A wish made on a star Brought her here tonight In the courtyard she waits A thousand broken dates. But she holds the hymnal Where so carefully pressed Is the English rose She laid to rest. Now Louie Louie had his time Seems like only yesterday Sadie and Hattie got married and moved away Cause they had nothin left to say, yeah! Oh, you move so fine Yeah what a scene I said Mmm, kinda aquiline Yeah baby saw through this now.
In the middle of the road You see the darndest things Like fat cats driving around in jeeps through the city Wearing big diamond rings and silk suits. I found a picture of you oh What hi-jacked my world that night? And you, the best in your field In your office with your girls and desk and leather chair Thought that time was on your side But not time the avenger. Time, time hear the bells chime Over the harbour and the city Time for one more vodka and lime To help paralyze that little tick, tick, tick, tick.
You were standing at the station In your briefcase was your aftershave and underwear And can you hear the whistle blow? Sounds like time the avenger. Time, time hear the bells chime Over the harbour and the city Time to kill another bottle of wine To help paralyze that little tick, tick, tick, tick.
There go the whites, getting whiter There go the colours, getting brighter There go the delicates through the final rinse There goes my Saturday night, Out cold without a fight. Welcome to the human race With its wars, disease and brutality You with your innocence and grace Restore some pride and dignity To a world in decline. I went back to Ohio But my city was gone There was no train station There was no downtown South Howard had disappeared All my favourite places My city had been pulled down Reduced to parking spaces.
I went back to Ohio But my family was gone I stood on the back porch There was nobody home I was stunned and amazed My childhood memories Sort of swirled past Like the wind through the trees.
I went back to Ohio But my pretty countryside Had been paved down the middle By a government that had no pride The farms of Ohio Had been replaced by shopping malls And muzak filled the air From Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls. Did you eat yet? In these frozen and silent nights Sometimes in a dream you appear Outside under the purple sky Diamonds in the snow ,sparkle Our hearts were singing It felt like Christmas time. Can this really happen in this day and age?
Suddenly — turn the page Like walking on stage Idiots And Ducks (CD baby Hey. Everybody wants place in the sun, I believe Everybody wants to be in love with someone Everybody makes mistakes Everybody cuts his thumb Everybody wonders What the moon is made of. When I change my life And the idiot me Leaves this town forever Leaves us to be Together for the rest of our lives Happily forever and ever When I change my life.
Colour the wind And search deep within And by the light of the moon Light of the moon Light of the moon We begin again. I remember the first time we met I may be a sentimental fool Forever in your debt For something I cannea forget I remember you.
How do we change so easily? I remember the first time we slept What a surprise to wake up to Someone I hardly knew From asleep to a dream come true I remember you. Hey baby, I wanna know How much did you get for your soul? You had the gospel when you were shackled to a tree Now you got your freedom, you sing for the money Soul, soul, soul, soul How much did you How much did you How much did you get?
Hey baby, well tell me please How much did you get that sleaze? Resignation in her sighs is a sorry indication of how time can brutalise take away the hope and the will, will follow take away the faith and goodbye tomorrow.
She had her dreams too but how can she pursue her ambitions be they great or small. And she will always carry on Something is lost, but something is found They will keep on speaking her name Some things change, some stay the same. Where has everybody gone? In this faceless crowd, where can I belong? With great pleasure I sing your national song Because your beautiful land will soon be long gone And the ashes of your memoirs will be strewn across the lawn.
Happy endings never find me I put all my fantasies and hopes of love behind me all my chances all fell through but If there was a man out there for me I wish it would be Someone who could love me too If someone was you.
Empty me Like a dustman rids a rubbish bin Fill me up with glimpses of you And let the music begin Oh oh oh Take me to the altar. Alter me The change could only do me good Others have tried to and failed I wish that somebody could Oh oh oh Do what no one can do. Cover me in dirt And leave me to the wind and the rain If I should ever hurt the one who made me human again Oh oh oh Take me to the altar. Waterfall Nothing can harm me at all My worries seem so very small With my waterfall.
Some people say Daydreams are for all the lazy-minded fools With nothing else to do So let them laugh Laugh at me So just as long as I have you To see me through I have nothing to lose Long as I have you. No guarantee When we kiss Your lips are tempting Well baby, listen to this I gotta have some action Yeah — yeah — yeah You know I got to be free Contracts are binding Oh oh oh whoa whoa whoa whoa No guarantee. When will I see you? Summertime would be perfect When will I see you?
Endless nights of love could be ours When will I see you? Summertime would be just perfect When will I see you? Could be a long summertime When will I see you? Everybody chokes when they see someone cut down in their prime take this plea to your heart and lift me in mine. Get to the heart baby, the heart of the city meet me in a fire fight of lusty boys and candlelight. Move to the heart baby the heart of the city veins pop and cry for more lick it off the killing floor.
How do I miss you? You silly Welsh git You were sold down the river Like a slave changing hands From master to master The leaves will turn brown And fall to the ground And another summer is gone Gone is the summer of you. My heart is breaking in two Oh. Bring on the ecstasy! Oh oh oh oh oh oh. Your body is troublerarely at rest Running and wandering in sleeplessness The stars are majestic, peaceful and all But where in this room will a little light fall? We all have to mourn and we all have to die But can you fall down on your knees to the spirit of life?
Mothers and fathers, lovers and friends Parties and tantrums all come to an end Memories washed out like cans to the sea Lost in the joys of eternity. We all have to mourn and we all have to die But can you fall on your knees To the spirit Of Life.
I went out on the balcony And looked across the way Some guy was shadow boxing, he looked like Sugar Ray I was feeling dizzy, began to swoon Was it his punch or was it just your Hollywood perfume? I feel like a fugitive escaped from my life Seeking refuge in the sensual heat These paper thin walls make me party to calls Of love wafting through the room The night jasmine bloom Of your Hollywood perfume. I went out on the balcony to clear my head I was burning up in my queen-sized bed Down on the strip beneath the billboard moon Teenage girls look for love in the Neon, sex and doom Of your Hollywood perfume.
I see him standing silhouetted in the lamplight I cross the street and I quicken my pace He cups his hands and he lights a cigarette I find myself in the bones of his face. Every time I end up waking up in some hotel without my set of keys coming to, remembering the way you turned me out when I was on my knees. When I saw my baby cry i knew that he loved me That was some great victory he cried because of me he hit me with his belt but his tears were all i felt When I saw my baby cry I knew He loved me.
When I saw my baby cry i knew that he loved me That was some great victory he cried because of me he hit me with his belt but his tears were all I felt When I saw my baby cry I knew he loved me. When we watch the children play Remember — when it was me and you Those were the days, The things we got up to! For every freedom fighter I wanna hold on tighter To the hope and will you gave You were the brave, you were the brave.
All my dreams Recollect you And so darling in a way Our love remains new Funny little things You touch my fingers and fondle my rings Then tenderly without violence We make love in perfect silence. Come, come into my room again Come, come again Oh come, come into my gloom again End this solitude again. Disappear on me like that? Oh, baby please, come back where I can touch you Right here where I can see you.
Come, come into my room again Come, come again Oh baby come, come into my gloom again Break, Fashion, break this solitude again. All of my dreams Of your affection Never have I known Such sweet perfection No drug induced bliss Could ever reach the heights of this Eternal and so pure Help me to endure To endure all my dreams.
Oh, why you look so sad? We had our time But the bells finally tolled And my Ohio winter Was finally too cold. I was born with my hand in a fist And my eyes shut tight Any wonder that I cannae resist Punching blindly, in a fight First time I saw swans flying to the sun I wanted to be one. I was raised within a cause With a purpose to fulfil I was taught to defend what was mine And instructed not to kill My small mortal eyes can see eternity In the clouds that dissolve and then regroup endlessly.
May God bless and keep you always May your wishes all come true May you always do for others And let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars And climb on every rung And may you stay Forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous May you grow up to be true May you always know the truth And see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous Stand upright and be strong May you stay Forever young. May your hands always be busy May your feet always be swift May you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful May your song always be sung May you stay Forever young. We satisfy each other But the hunger still remains You sink into my flesh like a knife When day comes to an end We take off all our clothes And stand naked face to face With real life. If this is public transportation What are you doing here? Royalty and people like thee Should queue up in the rear. My patience has worn thin My tyres are gonna explode Yeah, yeah Every time I try to get close to you You throw nails in the road.
This is a clean-up job Everybody grab a mop You wanna further your position Well look what floats on top, on top. Maybe, can you vibrate and clarify So that even lowly I can find the road That leads to you. One more little heartache One more little heartache One more little earthquake Wash me down Wash me down.
Ghostly memory come back to me Fill me and then take me to your grave I promise to behave And let me in the whole of you. It must be so wonderful Being you every day Oh it must be so wonderful Always getting your way.
Why did you send me roses? You believed in me When you had nothing to gain You stood by me You walked out in the falling rain To find me Waiting in the shadows behind me. Oh, baby doll Can you tell that I like that? When you came into my room last night And took off all your clothes Did you think I would resist Letting you inside? Did you think I could resist you? My favourite Samurai. When I stood beside your tomb last night Recalling how you rose Did you think I would persist Refusing to die?
Si me dijeran pide un deseo Preferiria un rabo de nube Que se llevara lo feo Y nos dejara el querube. Un barredor de tristezas Un aguacero en venganza Que cuando escampe parezca nuestra esperanza.
If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again…. If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you lie to me again… If you…. They die, they must die They die, they must die Everybody gather round Watch them falling to The ground. They die, they must die They die, they must die Everybody gather round Watch them stumble to The ground.
They die they must die They die they must die Everybody gather round Watch them falling to the ground. You came to me, I was alone, Tried to drag me in to your danger zone. Everything about us looks wrong but I swear it feels right.
Nothing breaks like a heart Nothing breaks like a heart Glass shatters, even cars fall apart Nothing breaks like a heart. Oh baby, when Fashion dies Nothing breaks like a heart Nothing breaks like a heart Glass shatters, even cars fall apart Nothing breaks like a heart Oh, nothing breaks like a heart Oh, nothing breaks like a heart Oh, nothing breaks like a heart.
When we made love Sometimes it was great Just once or twice I would have called it second rate Anyway the days passed by in peace I never though you needed More release.
You are my saving grace oo my saving grace You put me in my place you put me in my place I see your smiling face I see your smiling face The clouds disappear, and blue skies fill the space You are my saving grace. Do you remember when, you gave your heart to me I want it back again, I want it back again Oh baby, Sweet baby. You are my saving grace oo my saving grace You put me in my place you put me in my place I see your smiling face I see your smiling face The clouds disappear, and blue skies fill the space You are my saving grace You are my saving grace.
You are my saving grace You put me in my place I see your smiling face I see your smiling face The clouds disappear, and blue skies fill the space You are my saving grace You are my saving grace You are my saving grace. Miguel has set up home With a woman half my age A half-wit in a leotard Stands on my stage. Where did you leave your self respect You like look like a reptile Your house is a wreck Your existence an insult And stains that are suspect Cover your clothes.
Chorus: every drop that runs through the vein always makes its way back to the heart again — and by the way you look fantastic in your boots of Chinese plastic. Rosa come out here In the summer night Can you see off there Almost out of sight Your love calls to me Like that far distant light. Chorus: Whoa Ram it, cram it, grand slam it Break up the concrete Prod it, sod it, metal rod it Break up the concrete Whack it, thwack it, line back it Break up the concrete Shake it, bake it, earthquake it Break up the concrete Break up the concrete Break up the concrete.
And a depot over there right next to the tracks That the slaves put down while breaking their backs But those Texans knew no one would ever get into a carriage Or anything that might lead to an interracial marriage.
What am I gonna do today? Anyone here up for a movie? Yeah, I like it. I like being alone. What are you gonna do about it? Absolutely fuck all, Yeah. Roadie man, Taking music to the people, Any way he can. Restaurants and cinemas and Idiots And Ducks (CD, Walking through the city hand in hand, Those are things for lovers, Fashion lovers, Do you understand? You see me? Sometimes, do you ever get the feeling? No one understands me, Like my baby, No one understands, Like that man.
He knows, I will never leave him, No one understands me, Like him…. He knows, he knows, My love overflows, Like rivers to the sea, He comes and goes, My love it grows and grows, And doubles when he leaves. He knows, he knows, My love it overflows, Like rivers to the sea, He comes and goes, My love it grows and grows, And doubles when he leaves, And doubles when he leaves. No one understands me, Like my baby, No one understands, Like that man, Jiva spirits never die, In his blue-eyed sky.
I just expect you, To be the man you are, I just expect you, To be the man you are.
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