Cardiff, we have disagreement- A Doctor Who Discussion

Posted: November 15, 2015 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Doctor Who Discussions
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doctor Who’s ninth series is nearing its conclusion, with only one or two stories to go. The latest episode, Sleep No More, is proving divisive. And in a shocking turn of events, that divisiveness applies even to us! NERD FIGHT! NERD FIGHT!
Caution: This Nerd Fight may contain spoilers or traces of Spoilers. If you have an allergy to Spoilers, stop reading now.

JA: Thoughts on the episode?
JC: Um… Early thoughts are that it’s my second least favorite of the series so far. (Series as in season.)
JA: Oh, thank goodness.
At last.
I liked it!
JC: We disagree oh thank god
JA: Now we can have an actual real discussion rather than just going “yeah, you’re right” every time one of us says something. Or disagreeing about how much we liked something
JC: So I’ll start, feel free to rebuff me: It felt incomplete. I didn’t really have negative feelings about it until it ended, and the next time teaser seemed to show a different story.
JA: It’s a one-parter. Although I think Gattiss said there might be a sequel.
JC: On one hand, there better because that ending didn’t really make sense. On the other, I’m not sure I want to revisit it.
JA: I thought the ending made sense. It was a little more open ended and risky than Doctor Who tends to be (at least TV Doctor Who. Big Finish has been quite experimental in the past).
JC: How was he alive? He was dead. They shot him. Unless I missed a one off line or something (which I’ve been known to do)
JA: He was made of sand the whole time. Hence his face melting away.
JC: But the sand people were getting pulled apart at the end? Triton would’ve fallen into Neptune. No more sand men.
JA: But he sent out the message – the episode- with the message encoded that would cause Sandmen to form.
JC: I mean how did he have the time to put that message together and broadcast it (with what machine. again?) while Neptune was pulling him and the other sandmen apart?
JA: Um… That’s actually a good question. He’s REALLY good with iMovie. He had it mostly done when they shot him, right? So he only had to tack on a couple more minutes, record the last message, and click send.
JC: I’m not sure. I don’t know how he was stitching the feeds together, but if so I guess that could explain it.
JA: My biggest problem is that it didn’t really feel like found footage. I don’t know how to explain that, but it didn’t feel different enough from the way the episodes are normally shot.
JC: I kinda liked that lol. If only to avoid the annoying anti found footage people from swarming the discussion threads I read. It’s really annoying. Same with shaky cam people. “OH GOD THEY USED A HANDHELD CAMERA IN THIS SCENE. SHAKY CAM!! AAAAAHHHH!”
JA: Shaky cam can be really annoying if a director doesn’t know what they’re doing. Which is most modern Hollywood directors.
JC: I thought The Hunger Games used it well.
JA: I do not remember how Hunger Games used it. Used well, it recreates the chaos and panic of a scene. Used badly, I just have no idea what’s going on.
JC: That’s basically what they did. It accentuated the chaos of the cornucopia fight.
JA: Yeah, now I remember. That was really good. But back to Doctor Who…
JC: As for this episode, I think I know what you mean. It felt more like a *mockumentary* style than found footage.
JA: Yeah. I’m going to say that’s probably a failure (or not failure, depending on one’s POV) on the part of the director rather than Gattiss.
JC: Yeah not Gatiss’s fault. What IS Gatiss’s fault, imo, is the concept. It felt like a discount Moffat script, trying REALLY hard to make his own version of Blink, but not succeeding
JA: It’s not on par with Blink or a Moffat script. But I still liked the concept.
JC: I thought the concept was “almost good.” It could’ve been cool, but it’s just too silly. Sleepy seeds are actually trying to kill you? Um… okay.
JA: My issue is that it was slightly confusing. I’m not actually sure how much of that was true or what the Sandmen actually were.
JC: What I’m seeing online is that Gatiss was trying experiment with plot, using both unreliable narrator and the device of found footage to only show bits and pieces rather than the omniscient camera we usually have. Which was a cool idea but… it just left me puzzled more than anything
JA: That’s why I can forgive the confusion. It’s better for an episode to fall a little short doing something new and interesting than to fall short because the writer wasn’t bold enough.
JC: I’d be thrilled with that kind of conclusion if it was from a villain/threat I was actually scared by, like the ending of Blink. But I do agree with you that it’s better to fall short doing something new, and that’s why it won’t end up too low on my ratings. But for me I was just like: “So… that’s it? Humanity’s dead? No more show?”
JA: Maybe the Doctor shows up and saves everyone later? It’s an ambiguous ending. Something Big Finish has done a few times but the show generally avoids.
JC: It didn’t seem ambiguous, as much as contradictory. And when the doctor ran off screaming “none of this makes any sense” I was like “amen, brother.”
JA: Treat it as a standalone and it makes perfect sense. The problem is trying to fit it into a Doctor Who continuity where humanity didn’t all die in the 38th century. And Gattiss gave his views on continuity before the episode came out. Namely “F— Continuity.” That’s a direct quote.
JC: I think you do kinda have to disregard continuity a bit for doctor who, but this just seemed… I don’t know. Either the Doctor did save the day in some unseen second part, which makes it admittedly rather ordinary, or its a standalone and humanity’s doomed in the 38th century, despite us travelling beyond it
JA: I think we may see the unseen second part next series/season.
JC: I think it’s also possible Gatiss was trying to do something entirely different and missed. Like how Nolan intended the Inception ending to have an entirely different meaning than what people saw in it
JA: Possible.
JC: I think the point wasn’t so much about what happened as it was about the idea that we were infected by the video.
JA: It’s more Twilight Zone than Star Trek.
JC: And Doctor Who’s tried that before. Listen with the feeling of being watched/dreams, Blink with statues, Impossible Astronaut with memory, etc.
JA: Also, I don’t remember who he was broadcasting to. It might have only been “local” and caused an outbreak on Triton rather than the extinction of the human race.
JC: That would be better, but I’m pretty sure someone said something about the end of humanity.
JA: Well, the sequel (for better or worse) with probably tell us. Another thing I really liked was the 38th century worldbuilding. Indo-Japanese alliance, polytheism, grunts, etc.
Image is © BBC

Image is © BBC

JC: Seemed like standard futuristic stuff to me. I liked it, sure, but no more than any other episode that does that
JA: Well, I liked it. It created a sense of a futuristic world despite only showing one space station.
JC: Hmm. Well, I guess I’ll say my positive things about the episode now, since I didn’t hate it.
JA: Fine. Ruin our streak of disagreement.
JC: Effects were nice, especially on the last shot, as much as I was underwhelmed with the ending itself. The GLaDOS rip off was still funny, should’ve been used more. The Mr. Sandman song was used nicely to make things creepy, and Clara had more personality than usual.
JA: I agree with all of that, darn you. The Mr. Sandman song was great, apart from me having it stuck in my head after the episode. Clearly the first symptom of Sandmen consuming me.
JC: I had no sleepy seeds this morning, obviously my disdain made me immune
JA: Disdain can cure anything.
JC: Which is why grumpy old men live for so long. Soo anything else major about the episode? Or things to circle back to?
JA: Nitpick: I didn’t like the Doctor asking Clara to hold his hand. It didn’t feel very 12.
JC: That happened?
JA: Yeah. Very early on. Clara said “I’m not scared.” He replied “I am.” Before any of the scary stuff even showed up.
JC: Early on I did step out for a bit to get a snack. May have been then.
JA: Probably.
JC: I’d agree then that it didn’t seem very 12. Actually they didn’t seem themselves the whole episode.
JA: The speech about Rasmussen creating an abomination seemed very 12. However, he should have been more outraged about the grunt.
JC: He also seemed a bit… not “cheerier” but definitely less grumpy than usual.
JA: True. That seems to have been a thing for most of Series 9, though. I complained about it earlier, I think.
JC: You did. Though I think I’d argue series 8 he was all over the place in personality and 9 he’s consistent, he’s just consistently not as grumpy as advertised.
JA: In Series 8 he was always rude and grumpy, but different writers seemed to interpret that differently.
JC: Well in the first half of deep breath he was zany and loopy, then got super serious. And Robots of Sherwood he was basically matt smith.
JA: First half of Deep Breath doesn’t count. Post-regeneration, most Doctors act weird. Eleven was just consistently weird after that as well.
JC: Eh, good point, though I feel there’s other places in 8 where he was way different. Anyway, anything major left about this episode?
JA: I don’t think so.
JC: Scores then?
JA: Scores.
JC: So TGWD is my least favorite this year, with a 6.5/10. This one is my second least favorite, I’m going to say 7. I appreciate the experimental nature, and maybe it will benefit from a second viewing, but I don’t think it worked.
JA: I liked it, although it wasn’t perfect. It took risks and had an interesting concept. I liked the worldbuilding and the last scene was great. I didn’t think the direction did as good of a job as it could have with the found footage concept and it was a little more confusing than it needed to be. Overall, I’d go with an 8/10. So our actual disagreement turned out to be one point difference.
JC: /facepalm
JA: It still counts.
JC: We aren’t clones, guys! See??
JA: That’s clonist.
JC: #OrphanBlackLivesMatter
Join us next week for our discussion of Face the Raven!

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