Doctor Who Series 12 |OT| Spyfall Is Where We Start

Joqu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,711
The Waffle Kingdom
I really enjoyed the Spyfall two-parter, my favourite Chibnall episodes yet
They aren't favourites of mine or anything, but they were a whole lot more energetic than anything series 11 outside of Resolution. The Doctor felt a whole lot more confident too, it's the most I've liked her so far

I agree with Dhawan being too similar to Simm though. And while they give it some motivation I really feel like you gotta directly address the character's regression after Missy, even if it's mostly for the audience's sake. Should've at least thrown in one line of dialogue in there, I don't know. I'm fine with it but it felt weird considering how soon it is since the Master's last appearance
 

iFirez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,398
England
I totally forgot this was even on tonight... I used to religiously watch Doctor Who every week and now I'm not even that bothered. I'll watch it on iPlayer later tonight or tomorrow though, I promised I'd give CC 2 seasons as showrunner before finalizing my opinions.
 

APZonerunner

Features Editor at VG247.com
Verified
Oct 28, 2017
933
England
My biggest problems with Dhawan's Master are these:
- Too similar to Simm
- A bit too young
- Character wasn't gone long enough to miss them

That said, I'd love to see Dhawan stick around for a decade and haunt 14 and 15 and grow into the part. I like the fact that Anthony Ainley recurred for the entirety of the '80s.
I think this will probably never happen again, sadly. While it's totally more possible to have a long-time recurring Master than a longer-time Doctor because they don't have to film every year or every series necessarily, the problem is, I think, that the show has started to weaponize the "who will the Master be next time?!" casting shock/promo value in the same way it is for the Doctor.

On top of that, there seems to be a general theme emerging of casting a Master to mirror a Doctor - since Simm, every piece of casting seems to exist to hold up a mirror in a specific way. (I think an interesting bit of theorycrafting is who they'd have cast to mirror Eccleston and Smith, incidentally). You look at Missy and she is hand-built for Capaldi's Doctor - the colder, brash Doctor set against the most touchy-feely Master to date... and also the fact that it weighs heavier on their friendship than any other incarnation, because it makes sense that this older Doctor would have a best friend more of his generation - even if it's antagonistic - and a more teacherly relationship with his companions. While I have no doubt we'll eventually get it in Big Finish, I'm not sure Missy really, truly works opposite Smith or Whittaker. Similarly, we now have a more unstable, short-fused, maniacal Master to sit opposite 13's happy-go-lucky style, which makes sense.

The thing also is... Ainley really just looks like Delgado, at least in as much as David Bradley looks like Hartnell... so for all those years, there was a continuity in the Master, right from 71 to 89. Now they've embraced the character changing in the same way and to the same degree as the Doctor, I can't see them ever not using that... I can't see a showrunner ever not going "now I get to do MY master!!" Which is a shame, ofc, but also fair enough from the showrunner's perspective.
 
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-shadow-

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,330
Loved the creature design, hated the twist and never mind the message. I get it, but it's not even on the nose. It basically smashed out faces into the wall...
 

Quick Mustard

Member
Oct 25, 2017
634
Always thought and like the constant rumour of Benedict Cumberbatch being Smiths Master.

Tonights episode was very much a run of the mill monster of the week, which was good.
Not sure I needed the whole "Climate Change" issue being the reason though. I understand its a hugely important issue, but it felt very forced.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,060
Overall I thought it was a fairly decent episode. This series seems much more energetic than the previous one, which is good. But yeah, the climate change twist at the end was a bit much.

Loved the creature design, hated the twist and never mind the message. I get it, but it's not even on the nose. It basically smashed out faces into the wall...
Subtlety has not been Chibnall's strong point...
 

EvilRedEye

Member
Oct 29, 2017
599
Seems to me that the twist came first and then a very perfunctory story was built around it. A better, more emotionally engaging story that could have stood alone with the twist as the cherry on top to elevate it to something a bit more special would have been much more effective. I don't think people will talk about this story, and consequently its message, very much because it generally wasn't very interesting.
 

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,799
North-East England
Solid episode, good monster design (although I notice they never moved fast on camera). No subtlety at all about the message but I don't blame the writer, given current world circumstances.
It's actually the second time Dr Who's pulled a Planet of the Apes - last time was the first serial of Trial of a Time lord.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,344
United Kingdom
Well it started interesting but got worse as it went on. The twist was just meh, with the global warming message feeling forced and totally out of place. The writing continues to make Doctor Who disappointing.

It's trying to be way too serious all the time, even the higher production values / how it's filmed is taking away the charm of past seasons.

I've been watching a lot of the older episodes recently (Tennant / Smith era) and it's way more fun and entertaining than this is.
 

♡♪!?

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,026
I would have preferred the twist if it was called Earth 55 and they reached the planet and thought that name was a complement, but the twist would be it was called that because fucked up planets were being nick named Earth.
 

EvilRedEye

Member
Oct 29, 2017
599
There's absolutely nothing wrong with being blunt-force unsubtle about global warming.
I didn't particularly like this episode but the climate change message and its bluntness I didn't have an issue with. Sci-fi generally assumes that humanity has a future and it's quite powerful to have one of the major sci-fi franchises say 'well maybe it doesn't any more'.
 

APZonerunner

Features Editor at VG247.com
Verified
Oct 28, 2017
933
England
This is the show that did "massive weapons of destruction capable of being deployed within 45 seconds" in the midst of the Iraq war, it's never been subtle
 

♡♪!?

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,026
This is the show that did "massive weapons of destruction capable of being deployed within 45 seconds" in the midst of the Iraq war, it's never been subtle
It should make you think a bit though, not spell it out for you IMO. I think my idea would have been better if they reversed it... and thought the holiday planet was named after Earth 'Earth 55', and then the companions got offended that 'Earth' had become an insult in the future to refer to other planets that have destroyed themselves through callousness. That would have made you think more, like "is this the legacy of Earth, is this who we want to be?" Rather than just, change your lightbulbs or become zombies.
 

♡♪!?

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,026
New entry into Top 10 worst eps of Doctor Who
This was a average or poor episode, but Doctor Who has some amazingly bad episodes, which is fair enough, it's almost 60 years old.
I wouldn't even say it's in top 10 worst new who episodes. I guess are... Love and Monsters, In the Forest of the Night, the superman episode, the James Corden sitcom episodes or most episodes by Gareth Roberts, the cyber king Christmas one, several Mark Gatiss ones like the Capaldi with really cheap looking drill, Martha crying over her alien friend dying in quick sand, the master eating people in a hoodie. Lol memorable for the wrong reasons.
 

IDreamOfHime

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,972
One of the worst in recent memory.
The story could have been alright if the episode didn't feel so bloody cheap. Men is rubber suits running around the local leisure centre, quarry, and disused railway with some some actors wearing paintball gear and funny wigs. "The future"
 

♡♪!?

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,026
One of the worst in recent memory.
The story could have been alright if the episode didn't feel so bloody cheap. Men is rubber suits running around the local leisure centre, quarry, and disused railway with some some actors wearing paintball gear and funny wigs. "The future"
I think that's why Michael Grade cancelled it, there's amusing camp like Gridlock and there's this.
 

Clu

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,495
The Grid
liked the episode, I mean the doctor probably could have used the tardis and saved the mom and daughter, but a lecture instead is good.
 

Orion

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
2,492
Poor Hyph3n. I always like an episode with a group struggling to survive and getting picked off one by one lol, but that ending felt so random and abrupt... I was expecting the Doctor to use the Tardis to save Bella and her mom. Was there a reason I missed as to why she couldn't do that?

liked the episode, I mean the doctor probably could have used the tardis and saved the mom and daughter, but a lecture instead is good.
That's what I get for posting without reading others first. Yeah I was like um... can't this wait? lol
 
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DangerMouse

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,625
liked the episode, I mean the doctor probably could have used the tardis and saved the mom and daughter, but a lecture instead is good.
Yeah. I was just thinking if they could have fit in both at the end of the ep since it was weird that she didn't save them after seeing the mom make it back to try to save her daughter meanwhile the speech was good with the reminder that it continues to be up to us, so I'm not sure why they didn't do both.

Solid episode, good monster design (although I notice they never moved fast on camera). No subtlety at all about the message but I don't blame the writer, given current world circumstances.
It's actually the second time Dr Who's pulled a Planet of the Apes - last time was the first serial of Trial of a Time lord.
Yeah the monster design was quite good. Though it was indeed weird that they were so slow on camera and mostly just close ups.
"How about good old fashioned passive aggressive discussion?" lol


Decent monster of the week ep. I'm very much liking the improved pacing of this season's eps that continued in this ep compared to last season.

That preview for next week looked great.
 
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Watchtower

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,597
I wanted to wait up for this episode just to get a good sense of the new season both in and out of Chibnall's hands, and so far I'm actually really liking it. Nothing in the episodes I'd consider award-winning or anything, but it actually feels like Doctor Who again, which is a significant improvement over last season's meaningless plodding.

Part of that comes from Whittaker's Doctor being served a lot better, which I'm attributing to two things: the episodes actually revolving more around her and making her more actively central to the plots, and the episodes giving Whittaker more chances to get really pissed off. On the latter point, the Doctor has always had some form of abrasiveness that I always considered fairly core to their character, so seeing her being awkwardly chipper with "her fam", even as a response to Twelve, just didn't exactly jive right. Thirteen has a really good bit at the start of The Tsuranga Conundrum where she groggily snipes everyone in her vicinity - helped out by Whittaker channeling a decent amount of Eccleston and Tennant's edge - so I'm glad that I'm getting to see more of that here.

Chibnall's writing definitely suffers from a pacing issue that makes his episodes a little awkward to absorb. It's like he keeps throwing things in until he gets to 70 minutes and it results in both episodes of Spyfall feeling extremely dense; Part 2 in particular is effectively two episodes running at the same time, jumping back and forth while still leaving ten minutes at the end for an epilogue. Orphan 55 is thankfully a lot better handled, though it does have it's own issue in the climate change twist/aesop getting forced in. Like, it's not just that it's as subtle as an atomic bomb, it's that it does nothing for the actual story and just feels like Hime squeezed it in after the fact.
 

milamber182

Member
Dec 15, 2017
3,414
Australia
I thought the Spyfall parts were okay. It was the closest Chibnall has got to writing a RTD and Moffat-esque episode but still fell way short of either. Very odd ways to cram in two famous ladies from history. It was almost like CC had been reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and just decided s to cram them in.
His dialogue is still too on the nose - when he had the Doctor explain who people were it was like a summary of their lives and not natural at all.

I’m still unsure on the Master, far short of Gomez and doesn’t feel like the idea behind this incarnation was solid enough. Time will tell.

Fry was also woefully underused.
I actually like that they had 2 big announced cameos and one got taken out quickly only to reveal a secret cameo for a major returning character. Nice to be surprised, unlike last season when they had a sizzle reel of cameo names, most of whom I'd never heard of LOL.
 

milamber182

Member
Dec 15, 2017
3,414
Australia
Enjoyable enough. It had a good sense of urgency and tied in thematically to the Gallifrey storyline. I enjoyed the Fallout/Metro influence but it didn't bring anything new to the table. The last scene being one step away from a fourth-wall breaking PSA was a misfire. The creatures didn't look as menacing and convincing in the the wide shots which is probably why they spammed the close-ups. So Haemovores, Toclafane and Dregs are 3 possible futures for humankind. It's not looking good...

7/10
 

Chitown B

Member
Nov 15, 2017
4,892
I don't get it. Since when can the Doctor read minds? Is this new or something I just glossed over?
 

Naijaboy

The Fallen
Mar 13, 2018
3,471
That... wasn't a good episode. Felt too clunky and all those sacrifices were getting redundant at some point.
 

Kalnet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
458
The only thing I liked about the episode are the monster design and the plot twist of the planet. Other than that, throughout the entire episode I was like "Man, they're really rushing it through." and also stupid unnecessary decisions from some characters. #WheresBenni

I hope next week's episode is better. The preview looks interesting enough.

 

Rassilon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,067
UK
It was fine, although a bit rushed / hamfisted

The Doctor seemed to have more things to do, and there was some fun companion interaction

Someone out there is presumably losing their minds over the fact the TARDIS psychic translator didn’t help the companions to read the Russian
 

CommodoreKong

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,211
So...so I guess the Doctor just let the people left at the resort who saved them to die so she could give her companions a speech about global warming? Like I think global warming is an important issue for our planet to tackle but don't be an asshole Doctor, use the Tardis to save them, you can drop right in the second you left since you're out of the timeline.

The way they delivered the global warming message could have been done a lot better/in a more subtle way, the way they did it reminded me of the episode of Arrow where suddenly everyone is super concerned about gun control for an episode and then they never speak of it again.
 

milamber182

Member
Dec 15, 2017
3,414
Australia
So...so I guess the Doctor just let the people left at the resort who saved them to die so she could give her companions a speech about global warming? Like I think global warming is an important issue for our planet to tackle but don't be an asshole Doctor, use the Tardis to save them, you can drop right in the second you left since you're out of the timeline.

The way they delivered the global warming message could have been done a lot better/in a more subtle way, the way they did it reminded me of the episode of Arrow where suddenly everyone is super concerned about gun control for an episode and then they never speak of it again.
I thought they could only teleport in and out, although I'm sure with a broken barrier the Doctor could have found some way to get the TARDIS in for a quick rescue. Although it would have to be super quick because the mother and daughter were about to be overrun... unless the Doctor was willing to cross her and her companions own time stream.
 

APZonerunner

Features Editor at VG247.com
Verified
Oct 28, 2017
933
England
All the "politics in Doctor Who" whining made me rewatch Aliens of London and World War Three last night, and you know what - farting or no, that is a GREAT script