Doctor Who Discussion- Shameless Plugging and Time-Travel Flowcharts Tangled in 2001 Monolithic side-tracks

Posted: December 26, 2015 by J.A. Prentice in Doctor Who Discussions, Uncategorized
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Last night was Christmas, which, as you all know, is the day we get an extra Doctor Who episode. JA Prentice (JA) and Jaden C. Kilmer (JC) discuss the special, the very last episode of this year.


And remember there are…


So read on at your own risk.


JA: Overall I’d say I rather liked it.

JC: Picking up where we left off I see
JA: Disagreement?

JC: Did we actually disagree last time?
JA: We disagreed on Hell Bent. We ended with an argument.

JC: Oh yeah. I’m just SO swamped with Revenant stuff of course, I forgot about the last discussion. It’s a busy schedule, being the author of a self published e-book.
JA: I know that from experience. Pushing Spiral was fairly exhausting.

JC: Of course. But yeah, I meant back to agreeing on liking the episodes for us.
JA: I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
Disagreement does make more interesting discussions.

JC: So let’s find something to disagree on. What’s a standout scene for you?
JA: My standout dramatic scene is when River talks about how the Doctor doesn’t love her.
My standout comedic scene is the Doctor pretending to be surprised by the TARDIS being bigger on the inside.
I put them both because I can’t choose. They’re both amazing in completely different ways.

JC: Ugh. We’re just going to be clones of each other tonight aren’t we?
JA: Probably.

JC: I saw the episode with my mom, who also liked the episode, but she didn’t understand why I was cracking up so much at the sassy Doctor in awe of the tardis scene
JA: The way Capaldi plays it is just perfect.

JC: It was also a very Capaldi moment. Smith/Tennant doing that wouldn’t have worked, I think. Maybe Eccelston.
JA: I can’t really see it working with Eccleston.
You know who would have nailed it, though?

JC: Tom Baker?
Don’t tell me
Sylvester McCoy
JA: We really are just clones now, aren’t we?
That was in response to Tom Baker, not Sylvester McCoy.


JC: I can see McCoy really hamming it up though. Falling to his knees, grabbing that umbrella in both hands, mock freaking out.

JA: Yeah, now that you mention it I can see him really having fun with it.

JC: Well, maybe we’ll have one of those moments where one of them reads the monologue like McGann with the war monologue
JA: They do that quite often, so it’s possible. It tends to be more the dramatic monologues than the comedic stuff, though.

JC: But I WANT it.
JA: I think people just go to conventions and ask them to do it. So if you want it enough, it’s only a plane ticket and convention ticket and random chance of being picked to ask a question away.

JC: All I need is like 500 more people to buy my book to get a one way ticket to LA!
JA: You hear that, people? MAKE IT HAPPEN!

JC: To circle back to the dramatic monologue, it contained my favorite line of the episode, same with my mom actually. “you don’t expect the sunrise to admire you back.”
JA: That was a great line.
It also really changes the whole perspective I had of River up to that point.

JC: It was one of those “wish I thought of that” moments. And yes, a different side to River I expected, which was good.
JA: Kingston’s acting was really great.
And Capaldi managed to say a lot with just his facial expressions.

JC: I think you mean “eyebrows.”
JA: Eyebrows was implied.

JC: Btw, can I take a guess at your one major gripe? If we’re really gonna clone out this time I think I can guess it.
JA: Guess away.


JC: It wasn’t really Christmas-y. It was just SET during Christmas.
JA: That didn’t really occur to me.
I mean, you’re right.
But I didn’t think of it as a big issue.

JC: Not really a big issue, but the biggest “complaint” I could think of.
JA: I’m having difficulty really thinking of any complaints at the moment.
For once, I could have done with MORE of the Sonic Screwdriver
Since we just got a new one.

JC: We got A screwdriver
JA: True.
And I suppose that would have given away to River that it was the Doctor.
Unless they wanted her to seem REALLY stupid.

JC: Ah, here’s my main thing actually: you just reminded me.
I have NO idea what River’s timeline is. I thought she was going through time in reverse compared to the doctor?
JA: There’s one or two lines to suggest that in The Impossible Astronaut/The Day of the Moon, but those lines are inconsistent with everything else, so I’m assuming River is generalizing.
They seem to just meet out of order.
River first meets the Doctor in Let’s Kill Hitler.
The Doctor first meets her in Silence in the Library, where she dies.
Everything in between is out of order.
Hence why they need to sync up diaries to check where they are relative to each other.

JC: Well I did find this flowchart online, which would be, if correct, a handy way to visualize things. It would also mean you’re right that she’s not literally experiencing time in reverse. tumblr_mgc5law9ti1s2ebswo1_1280
JA: That seems both confusing and accurate.
She’s somehow meeting Paul McGann in the new Big Finish stuff.
And the flowchart just became even more confusing.


JA: I’m assuming he won’t actually meet her except maybe in passing, because otherwise it wouldn’t make sense.
Presumably she’ll be trying to keep out of his way.
For timey-wimey reasons.

JC: And Big Finish is all considered canon right?
JA: The BBC doesn’t officially have a canon.
But it seems to be.
Big Finish companions are listed in Night of the Doctor.
And they have to clear everything by BBC Wales.

JC: I guess it would be unofficially official
JA: Basically.

JC: My guess for River in big finish then is timey wimey crap. Tear in space-time or whatever
JA: The Diary of River Song boxset, one story of which has McGann, is out today. If I only had more money, I would already know the answer…
And more time, since, y’know, I probably wouldn’t have listened to 4 hours of audio today.

JC: That’s one legitimate reason for me not trying Big Finish yet. I think I have horrible auditory memory. Feel like I should get an actual doctor’s opinion on that… but anyway, back to the episode, I really liked that they didn’t force an alien attack or something like that
JA: Yeah. The plot was a little light, but it was basically just a vehicle for the character interactions.
It was a character piece with a giant robot body searching for its head.
Only in Doctor Who.


JC: Definitely an “only in doctor who” moment, and one of the reasons it’s impossible to give up on the show. Nowhere else will you get that kind of story. And for a while, you couldn’t even find it in Doctor Who. RTD really seemed to “phone in” scripts for christmas specials
JA: Agreed. I think none of the RTD Christmas Specials are great stories. Some are good or solid, but none are anywhere near the level of this, Last Christmas, or Christmas Carol.

JC: This is where I actually disagree with you on something and say how much I like the Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe.
JA: Maybe I need to re-evaluate it.
But it’s my least-favorite Moffat episode.
Meaning Moffat-written episode, not every episode under his era.

JC: I think it’s the most Christmas-y of all the specials, which is what the RTD specials always lacked so badly. It’s similar to this one in that it’s not an alien invasion, it’s a character driven story. Whimsical, wintery, and very much “Christmas.” Narnia meets Doctor Who. As opposed to Dickens meets Doctor Who or Alien/Inception meets Doctor Who.
JA: There were definitely parts I liked, but it wasn’t really anything amazing. Especially by comparison to Christmas Carol, which is one of my favorite episodes.

JC: I don’t know how I’d rank it against the other christmas specials, maybe near the bottom of the Moffat ones, but definitely in my top half for episodes overall.
JA: I haven’t watched it since it actually aired, so I feel like I’m not really sure about where it places. I kind of feel like I need to watch it again now that you’re giving it such a positive review.

JC: I’ll have to put my disclaimer in there that it was also the first Doctor Who episode I watched air live, so it was special in that way as well. Still think it’s solid though. I mean, I saw series 7 live and I hated that.
JA: So, to get back to this episode before we wander any further off-topic…
How do you feel about it as closure to River Song?
Because I remember you mentioning you though the story was already over.


JC: I’ll say what I SHOULD have said with Face the Raven. It was a good, satisfying ending to a character I’m sure will return anyway.
JA: I actually feel like she might not.
Two reasons:
Moffat’s probably leaving sooner rather than later, since he was planning to leave with this episode.
Big Finish is doing a River Song series.
Or boxset, which is almost definitely the first part of a series.
But either way, I feel like Big Finish getting to use her suggests she may be moving off the show.
Third reason just occurred to me:
It would be really hard to make it make sense.
Since she meets 12 for the first time on the night he takes her to the Singing Towers, which she said was the last time they met…

JC: reason 1 is the only way I can see her not returning. Not too hard to think of a way to slip out of the sorta prophecised final meeting. Though I like that “24 years” twist.
JA: Yeah. I like the idea of the Doctor and River actually spending a lot of time together. Especially since it might well be the last time they ever spend together.

JC: And I think it’s a good way to make the episode end happily without stretching too much.
JA: Yeah. It can’t be too much of a downer on Christmas.


JC: HOWEVER, I just realized, when that woman told the Doctor it would take 5 years to get a seat, and they arrive 5 years later, shouldn’t she be dead?
JA: No.
Because year is determined by the orbit around the star.
And day is determined by rotation.

JC: so it’s a super slow rotation, but normal ish orbit time
JA: Possibly.

JC: Thank you Bill Murray for teaching us astronomy.
JA: And that aliens are real and global warming is a myth.

JC: Yay for inside jokes that exactly zero readers will get!
JA: That’s what editor’s notes are for. (Editor’s Note: Our college astronomy teacher looked like Bill Murray, believed that aliens were real, and started off the year thinking that climate change was a conspiracy, but eventually changed his mind. I respect him for actually changing his opinion when he learned more facts. Not many people do that.)
That, and making snide remarks. (Editor’s Note: I don’t do that nearly enough.)
Mostly snide remarks.

JC: Can’t wait for the editor’s notes on this section, haha. So River actually being written off here would conclude her arc without any big holes, astronomy tells us that the greeter woman would actually be alive… Is this a Moffat episode WITHOUT a gaping plothole?
JA: Um…
I think so.
If 11 hadn’t taken her to the Singing Towers, why did he think he was going to die in Time of the Doctor?
He would have known he still had that to do.
This is really me reaching for anything.

JC: And if that’s referencing the mini-sode, I actually havent seen it
JA: No. I’m just referencing the whole thing where he’s out of regenerations, but he KNOWS that the Singing Towers was their last meeting.
The mini-sode was explained by River’s line about him always cancelling at the last minute.
Which seems perfectly in character for 11, who ripped the last pages out of books so they’d never end.

JC: You’re right it is perfectly in character. Side note: totally connect with 11 on that, I cover up the last sentences of novels so I don’t see them prematurely.
JA: Well, that’s different from never reading them at all.
It’s just occurred to me that side of 11 really fits with him being the “last” Doctor.
He never wants anything to end because he knows it WILL.
He knows he’s on his very last life.

JC: Well there was that one time I purposely didn’t read the last book of a trilogy because I didn’t want it to end. And yes, 11 is going through an existential crisis his whole run which is part of the reason why he’s my favorite. I connect. So hard.
JA: It’s funny because it’s actually a complete accident, since the War Doctor wasn’t planned.
But it works so well.

JC: Which is also basically how I work when writing, which just reinforces how hard I connect. (Editor’s Note: Often called pantsing, which leads either to genius or disaster. When JA tries it, usually disaster.) 
JA: Whereas I generally need a plan to avoid getting stuck.

JC: Which seems to be RTD’s strategy… but that almost seems an insult to compare myself to Moffat then compare you to RTD. (Hides from the Davies fans.)
JA: I don’t feel like RTD really did that much plotting. His story arcs are pretty simple.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

JC: Bad Wolf Bad Wold Bad Wolf BAD Wold Torchwood torchwood torchwood TORCHWOOD knock knock knock knock
wow, a 50% success rate on spelling the word “wolf”
JA: Ladies and gentlemen, a writer.
He spells wolf with a slightly better success rate in his book.

JC: I actually just ctrl-f’d that and apparently there is no instance of the word wolf in Revenant (Editor’s Note: Yeah, I don’t know why he felt the need to go and do this either.)
JA: I find it impressive that you actually went and searched that.
Did you check for wold?

JC: Anything to give Revenant more plug time post Vampire Week.
JA: I’m trying to find a way to awkwardly plug Spiral: A Death Foretold.
Oh look. I did it.

JC: PLUG PLUG PLUG. And no, there is no wold. But there is an instance of “hoW OLD.” (Editor’s Note: Don’t believe us? Buy it, read it, and find out for yourself!)
JA: Close enough.
To get back to the episode for a moment, I’d like to mention two things:
The Christmas-y opening titles, which were a great idea. Why haven’t they done that before?
And the opening shot.

JC: Well, I actually missed the first minute, so I have no opinion on these things.
I did see the title sequence. I liked that too,
JA: The opening shot was a continuous shot from the spaceship, through the town, to the TARDIS door with a “Carolers Will be Criticized” sign.
I also loved the title at the end.

JC: Ah, first thing I saw was the awesome carolers will be criticized sign. Too bad, because if a director wants me to like their movie/show, continuous shots are basically my weakness
JA: Continuous shots are great.
Providing they’re done competently, obviously.

JC: *daydreams about the 7 minute long take in Atonement…*
Did Talalay direct this one?
JA: I’ll check the Internet.
Douglas Mackinnon.

JC: Dont know you, Douglass, but you’re cool. Bummer because I wanted to gush about how much I like Rachel Tally
JA: He directed Listen and a bunch of other episodes.
But yeah, Talalay is great.
Heaven Sent was inspired by German Expressionism! (Editor’s Note: German Expressionism was an artistic movement in the early twentieth century. Here it refers specifically to the films that resulted, like Metropolis and Nosferatu.)

JC: How so…?
JA: The shadows and lighting.
She talks about it on her blog.

JC: So you’re telling me that Heaven Sent and Tangled share some inspiration sources? I knew Heaven Sent was incredible.
JA: Wait. Wait.
Is inspired by German Expressionism?

JC: Ummm now I should fact check that.
Off by a country. French oil paintings.
Not German Expressionism… though I could swear I read somewhere it was based on a German painting
JA: By German Expressionism, I was referring specifically to the cinematic side of it.
As in Metropolis, etc.

JC: Ohhhh. I thought you were talking about the paintings. Tangled and Metropolis aren’t really things that would go together would they?
JA: Which would explain my response.
They’re basically the opposite visually.

JC: I think the only movie I can think of more opposite to Tangled is 2001.
JA: Tangled/2001 Crossover.
To borrow a quote from this episode and tie all this together, the story should be called: “You don’t expect a monolith to love you back.”
It’s Tangled but with Rapunzel replaced by the monolith in every scene.

JC: So taking out the reason why it’s the best disney movie ever… and making it even better.

Oh god, the mental image of the monolith leaning out the tower window singing… with hair somehow attached to it falling to the ground…
JA: I actually laughed out loud picturing that.

JC: Well, if you guys take anything from this conversation, make it that mental image.
JA: If anyone with photoshop skill wants to make that, please do. (Editor’s Note: Please? Just post in the comments and we’ll add it to the post and credit you. I’d totally do it if I wasn’t so incompetent at basic editing.)

JC: Before ratings, I have a game we should play. AND it’s about Doctor Who!
JA: Go on.

JC: Pitch me an opening scene for series 10.
JA: A desperate hostage situation at a bank on a future colony. A mercenary takes aim, sights trained on the criminal’s leader. She asks her employer if she should take the shot. The employer tells her to go for it, even though there could be casualties. The mercenary reluctantly prepares to fire, knowing that it’ll be a bloodbath.
The Doctor deactivates her gun, whispers to her, “Let me try my way first.”
Best I could come up with on the spot.
Mercenary would be the new companion.

JA: That would be nice. I’ve been hoping for a future companion. Here’s mine then

As you did, you gotta introduce the new companion. And you’ve gotta make her likable, but not overly perfect. So, my on the spot opening scene is a heard, but not seen, person talking about how she’d react in a situation. Camera pans through a whole line of people waiting for some event- all looking ahead to the front. Eventually we get to the end, see the girl who’s speaking wrap up her answer to the hypothetical and smile confidently. Cut to Capaldi, sitting in front of her, crack a smile and say “you’ll do.”

(Editor’s Note: JA Prentice is very annoyed that this is actually much better than his idea.)
JA: The Doctor actually auditioning companions?

JC: Yeah, I’ve had that mental image for a while. Capaldi holding “tryouts,” finding someone who would be more a partner in crime than a dear friend. And then of course, they would gradually become a dear friend like the others.
JA: That’s actually a really interesting premise.
It could be fascinating if it went “wrong.”
Because what the Doctor thinks he wants and what the Doctor actually needs could well be too different things.

JC:Well don’t tell Moffat but that’ll happen in season 2 of my fanfic which will eventually sometime be finished maybe.
JA: “Sometime maybe” is the best release date.

JC: It’s the release date for every Sherlock season!
JA: Speaking of which, new episode next week!

JC: tumblr_lg0s20t8mp1qazhxg
JA: If you imagine Flynn’s looking at Monolith Rapunzel, that gif gets much better.

JC: Aaaaaand now I’m going to write the script for that. So we should do scores so I have more time.
JA: Right. Score time it is.

JC: Well, for me I thoroughly liked it, don’t have too many faults, actually don’t really have a big fault at all. BUT I found it more “fun” than seriously compelling on the whole. And it was lacking in christmasness. So I’m going to go with an 8. Which is probably on par with Doctor/Widow/Wardrobe.
JA: I’m going to go with an 8.5/10. It’s a fun, light-hearted romp for the most part that’s actually very emotional and dark underneath the fun. Capaldi and Kingston shine, both delivering brilliant dramatic and comedic scenes. It provides a fitting end to River’s story, nicely bringing it full circle back to Silence in the Library. It isn’t quite on the same level as, say, Heaven Sent, but it’s good and works on multiple levels.



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