Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

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ANewWatchBegins
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by ANewWatchBegins »

I really enjoyed the episode overall, I think it was good as a whole, it had a lot of moments I really enjoyed.

That isn’t to say there weren’t some flaws, there definitely were, I think the most glaring one for me was the pacing and flow of events.

I think right off the bat I’d have cut the convoluted poison tea plan, it doesn’t hold up under any sort of examination - either have Robertson’s people pick up the Dalek directly, or have an action scene with the cargo being intercepted. It’s not as though the casing going missing was a secret, the fam knew about it. Rather than the fam finding out via leaked footage, it should have been through the actual announcement, I think it would have been much more effective to have had the drones better integrated into society and how they would operate and a more gradual level of threat, and it could have allowed the plot to explore how awful a way it is to govern a country.

I definitely think the Doctor should have been broken out of jail much later, and the fam been on their own for much longer, or at least, have us see more of that. Especially since those 10 months, Ryan in particular really changed, it would have been so much more effective to see some of that rather than just have it told to us, and it would have given them a chance to develop their characters and agency. Obviously this was written a while back, but I think doing just a bit more with the Doctor’s isolation and focusing on how that effected her could have been hugely poignant right now, but also just given Jodie something different to do with her Doctor. Also, the actual escape was fun but I do think more could have been made of it! You have a great roster of villains in there - use some of them, rather than just roll calling them.

I think the biggest problem with the pacing of the plot was the extremely quick turn around between Leo getting ridden by the squid and the reveal of the mutant clone farm. It was just far too much to suspend the disbelief, so I believe if you’d had the introduction of the defence drones and the mutant possession very early in the episode, and had more time, this whole thing would have worked so much better. I think the scenes in there were good but I was distracted by how quickly that would have come about.

And finally with the Daleks themselves, I’d just have the defence drones introduced earlier, then introduced the mutants earlier and spend more time with the defence drones gone wrong and the actual Daleks themselves. I think this era consistently underuses it’s villains and doesn’t give them enough screentime, and a bit more action and threat is always welcome!

I do think that there needed to be more time between the Dalek Drones going rogue and the Doctor calling in the Death Squad. Just a bit more death, destruction, the usual cheery stuff to cement the threat, and to see the team trying something more. I really enjoy Dalek civil war stuff, and I think the Doctor using their racial purity against them and manipulating them works well here. I could just have used more of it, the Death Squad Daleks needed some more action - they had those cool claws and then did NOTHING with them!? What a waste!

Oh, and if you’re going to build up to who their leader is, at the very least give me a Dalek with a black dome or something unique to differentiate.

There were a few times that the dialogue that didn’t quite work or felt unnatural, the scene between the Doctor and Ryan comes to mind. The whole beanie thing was deliberately awkward but I felt as though it was such a weak character trait to bring up with Ryan that it just highlighted how weakly drawn his character is, and then when he asks the Doctor ‘and how did that make you feel?’, that sounded so clinical and almost like he was the Doctor’s therapist more than her friend. It’s such a shame that this was the only scene we’ve ever gotten like this between them, and it should have come 15+ episodes earlier. I did really enjoy this scene though, and I thought Jodie really shone here. I am sad that they had her in prison for decades to process the revelation of the Timeless Children. It was touched on in this conversation, but if you’re going to use that as a plot point, I think you absolutely have to use it to drive the Doctor’s character as much as possible, and having her spend so long in isolation, off screen, to come to terms with that, it feels like a waste.

Ryan’s exit was good, and I just think it’s such a shame that they tried to cram all his development into this one episode, hell, even into one conversation. I think if they’d given more time to Ryan being a young person who is lost and hasn’t found their role in the world, and then finding themselves and their place through their travels, that could have been massively poignant for a lot of people. Especially since his main arc for series 12 was learning to shoot hoops!

I am very surprised they never mentioned Graham’s cancer, I really expected it to come into play here. In S12, he’s reintroduced in a Doctor’s appointment, and his whole plot line in Can You Hear Me? Was to do with his cancer, it was very surprising that it went unremarked upon entirely. I really thought they’d revisit/redeem that ghastly ‘socially awkward’ scene between the Doctor and Graham. I will really miss Graham/Bradley. I think so often he’s been the heart of this TARDIS team, and he’s had really wonderful, warm moments. It was a shame he got somewhat sidelined in this story, but I certainly had a laugh at his final line being ‘You’re doing it mate!’.

Yaz showed a lot of potential in this episode, and I just wish we’d properly focus on her and let her spread her wings. She has the potential for a brilliant dynamic with the Doctor and I hope they delve into that in S13, and I hope John Bishop comes in a few episodes so we can explore these two before introducing a new character. I really liked when the Doctor came back and how Yaz reacted, the fam dynamic has severely lacked tension and that’s something it really needed. I was a bit disappointed at how quickly they wrapped up and moved past that moment. Her scene with Jack was brilliant, however, and one of my favourite of the whole episode.

Jack himself was great, you can tell John really enjoys the role. He was definitely there to break her out and be the Ghost of Companion Past to the fam and show them how life is after the Doctor. There was maybe a couple too many references to the past from him that felt crowbarred in, and I wish he’d had a proper goodbye scene rather than just on the phone, but I was VERY happy to hear Gwen Cooper is alive and well, and has a SON! What really surprised me was him staying alive this whole episode. It was so odd that it was mentioned and never used.

The scene on the Dalek ship was filled with potential for threat, we didn’t know how Ryan and Graham were going to leave and you had Jack who could die! There definitely should have been more action here, and I felt the moment where they teleported off the ship after Jack randomly brags about his immortality was the perfect moment to have the Daleks exterminate someone as they escaped, or just use Jack’s ability in some way to advance the plot.

I also think that in having Jack in the role was in, he should have mentioned Torchwood more, or rather, should have mentioned finding a life beyond the Doctor defending the Earth, it would have made a lot of sense given how Ryan and Graham bowed out.

I think Jack Robertson worked infinitely better here as a character because they really scaled back the Trump caricature. That was my biggest problem with him before. I do think his ending was funny but I agree with spannerintheworks, it robbed the Doctor of a really great moment to confront him about his actions and it could have been so relevant in a way that felt natural to the plot, and not forced in.

The final scene with the fam in the TARDIS was extremely bitter-sweet. Their dynamic worked better here than has done for most of the past two series and I really felt a bit sad that it took until this point. They felt like individuals and I just enjoyed this last scene. Jodie was really great this whole episode, but this was another stand out scene. I loved finally seeing them hug, and their little huddle, it was stuff like that that we should have had AGES ago. It felt like the off screen chemistry and dynamic the cast was finally being translated to screen.

The very final scene was nice, but the execution of Grace let down what could have been a genuinely lovely end to the characters. It was awful, it looked AWFUL. It’s clear they couldn’t get Sharon D Clarke, but I think if you’d had Grace stood in the same position that Thirteen was in way back in TWWFTE, watching Ryan and Graham on the hill from a distance, then fading away, it would have been so much more subtle and beautiful. It would suggest much clearer that they feel Grace watching over them, or both sense her presence, the way it was done in the episode was just a bit tacky and left a bad taste at the very end of a good episode. Also, one final nitpick, feels very odd that the Doctor would have spare psychic papers in wallets ready to go. The comment about Graham wanting a psychic paper should have been made to the Doctor, and rather than handing them it in wallets, it should have just been blank pieces of paper. That feels more plausible that she’d have some of that, rather than two spare fully prepared wallets.

I know I’ve just torn this episode apart over a far too long post but I did enjoy it, I loved having the show back on and I can’t wait for Series 13. Series 12 has definitely had problems of it’s own but I am really excited to see where it goes and I hope they continue to step it up and learn from the mistakes of each year.

ANewWatchBegins
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by ANewWatchBegins »

Spannerintheworks wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:22 pm

On a related note, Whittaker's dialogue is still so bland that I'm hard pressed to count great speeches of hers on one Sontaran hand. PLEASE up the writing game, Series 13!!!
Fully agree with this, I think she's a superb actress but they're robbing her of moments to shine and she needs more excellent Doctor speeches, ones that feel like they're a natural part of the episode and not a down-the-barrel Greta Thunberg tribute act, as important as those messages are.

Spannerintheworks
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

ANewWatchBegins wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:01 am
Spannerintheworks wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:22 pm

On a related note, Whittaker's dialogue is still so bland that I'm hard pressed to count great speeches of hers on one Sontaran hand. PLEASE up the writing game, Series 13!!!
Fully agree with this, I think she's a superb actress but they're robbing her of moments to shine and she needs more excellent Doctor speeches, ones that feel like they're a natural part of the episode and not a down-the-barrel Greta Thunberg tribute act, as important as those messages are.
As I mentioned they actually could've given her a grandstanding, topical speech attacking Robertson (Think full Pertwee/Capaldi style disdain) and.... nope. It was earned and had great setup. But nope.

You raise a great point too: The actual issues or messages are important and DO deserve a commentary.....but none of these soapbox moments Whittaker has had played well nor will they age well; Cartoon characters espousing a "We've had some fun, but..." moral cutaway at episode endings have more subtlety. They really had a good setup here though for her to let loose, hopefully things come together in Series 13.

I also agree that the Doctor and companions having some close interaction/emotional connection is way overdue. It was indeed well acted, but fell flat with me as it seemed entirely unearned. Not "Leela bounces" levels of departure, but definitely 80s levels of "Hey everyone! This person's leaving, time to act like there was way more personal connection".

Also, I just realized: Prior to this episode, the last time Graham and the Doctor had a heart to heart she.....couldn't even fake-polite acted like she cared. So, now she's broken up the guy she couldn't be bothered to understand wants to bail?

Keep your character development straight & consistent show. Or have some, period.

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Valeyard
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Valeyard »

Really enjoyed that episode. Pacing was a bit too quick in places, think it should’ve taken place over a few days rather than just one and I wished we saw more of the Defence Drone Daleks, but a solid episode on the whole. Very excited for Series 13 and hoping we get more exploration into the Doctor’s origins, there’s a lot of potential and it’s something Chibnall’s clearly interested in exploring so I hope they go all out for it.
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TheSparrow
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by TheSparrow »

Are Graham and Ryan the first companions to not die, or to just return to earth since Donna? (Or even technically Martha, since Donna forgot everything?) Weird that, innit.
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Kaldor
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Kaldor »

Does anyone else remember reviews saying they weren’t allowed to discuss Nathan Stewart-Jarrett’s character because of spoilers?
... I sat there the entire episode waiting for him to do *something*.

Spannerintheworks
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

So, slight concern with the special:

Even with...

*A lingering Pandemic
*Fewer New Year's events/outings
*Fewer filmed "event" TV specials
*The Daleks returning
*Captain Jack returning
*More hype than I recall for 2 prior New Year's specials

The overnight viewing figures still went DOWN on prior New Year's specials?

Really didn't expect that either.

(Disclaimer: Yes, I know overnights aren't comprehensive, and that TV viewing has changed since 2005, blah blah blah. But with much less going on and a captive audience, Who still can't even lure back a portion of the overnight viewing audience that jumped on board for Series 11 - and then bailed - or lure back Davies-era fans/those who bailed after Series 10. That's more my surprise; These are moves longtime shows make that usually get that result.)

If nothing else, I really hope this teaches the lesson that aping the Davies era won't guarantee Davies era audience/viewing habits. (And remember, Whittaker initially DID. I'm not measuring Chibnall's era against Moffat or Davies viewing conditions - I'm comparing it to itself, within 2 years ago.)

Again, here's hoping for Series 13.

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Danoftardis
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Danoftardis »

An ok episode, neither particularly good nor particularly bad in my opinion. Thought the whole ending was a bit weird though, but it was nice to see Jack again, that was fun. I still don't like the way it's filmed and broadcast, the whole cinematic feel they're going for, but I've just got to put up with that. I've also concluded that I don't really like most of the music the new composer has come up with so far, which I think might be another reason I've massively not enjoyed the last two series. But it was good to watch some new Who and it entertained me more or less the whole time so that'll do me for now.
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

Ooh, yeah, that's something no one's discussed lately:

Though in theory I would think I'd love an electronic based score (a la Tristram Cary), this is so slight and does nothing good soundtracks should: underscore emotion/mood, allude to the action onscreen, or create memorable themes. Coming after Murray Gold, it's REALLY a letdown.

Spannerintheworks
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Re: Series 12 discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

TheSparrow wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:20 pm
Are Graham and Ryan the first companions to not die, or to just return to earth since Donna? (Or even technically Martha, since Donna forgot everything?) Weird that, innit.
Well, technically....

*Amy and Rory lived out their natural lives together, happily on earth. Just in a different time.
*Bill survived, just not entirely human. Then naturally died, eventually, probably with Heather.
*Nardole wasn't human in the first place. As far as we know, he naturally expired though.

Clara died (if you want to be technical, with a reprieve for a bit - But it's time travel show, you should have those technicalities. In fact, why DON'T we exploit those more???). If you count River, we knew she died and her loop is pretty closed/resolved. That's about it, unless we're counting Grace too.

On the one hand, I appreciate we had people just choose to leave, a la Martha, with simple human choice and preference. Very Classic Series.

On the other hand, it was really blase and raised no emotional questions or character issues for the Doctor - Like the Classic Series too often, it lacked any drama. (What there was of it, credit where due, was down to the actors.) 13 was just through the ringer and nothing was made of Ryan and then Graham reneging on the big "We'll be there with you" that is probably one of the last TARDIS convos the Doctor remembers having with them all. As I said earlier, the Davies era did some things right, and Moffat deserves credit here too: We were set to understand the dramatic implications of the companions leaving and its effect on the Doctor. It's actually a gain that the New Series made on the Classic Series overall (Susan, Adric, and Sarah Jane being exceptions off the top of my head); Departures meant more than "The actors are leaving." And now, we're back to a dull emotional thud of exactly that.

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