Doctor Who Discussions: “Kinda Like It Follows with Lesbians”

Posted: April 17, 2017 by J.A. Prentice in Doctor Who Discussions
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

landscape-1492185026-12919221-low-res-doctor-who-s10And here we are, with a new episode of Doctor Who. Not an appearance on Class, not a solitary Christmas special, but a real, genuine first episode of a new series. It’s enough to get anyone a little emotionally.
It is with pride that we present this Discussion, wherein Jaden C. Kilmer (JC) and J.A. Prentice (JA) talk about a great many things, including, on occasion, the episode they’re supposed to be discussing.
Be warned. Ahead lurk spoilers – nasty, slippery, shadowy things with siren calls – for The Pilot. (And not the one with Hartnell.) Proceed at your own risk.

JC: I am rewatching the episode at the moment, so this will be interesting.

JA: I’ve only seen it once, so you’ll have the advantage here. Overall thoughts?
JC: Very good setup, not as good follow up. But the characters are all strong and the visual style is great. It still feels weird that doctor who is one of the most visually interesting shows on tv now

JA: I just saw some classic series stuff… so it’s beyond weird. lol
JC: Even compared to series 5 though it’s a whole step and a half up
JA: I thought it was the perfect Doctor Who “Pilot,” though I am bewildered as to why it was set up like a pilot in Moffat and Capaldi’s last season. The visuals were great, the characters were all set up well, the mystery was intriguing. I loved it.
JC: You’re objectively wrong. The perfect Doctor Who pilot is Eleventh Hour. This is a pretty darn good pilot though.
JA: I like the Eleventh Hour better as an episode, but this does a better job of establishing everything about the show: TARDIS, Doctor, companion, traveling in space, traveling in time, Daleks, etc.

132497-37266d1b-0824-40a1-bd30-5ed2c8c07162

JC: Sorta. Maybe. Felt a tiny bit repetitive here to me. Bill freaking out over the TARDIS and getting wowed by time/space travel especially

JA: I loved the pullback inside the TARDIS, though. The runarounds were cool, but this was something new and I think it worked really well.Plus I liked Bill finding out about the TARDIS incrementally – and by seeing it rather than being told. The Doctor should be a writer.

JC: A brilliant, beautifully poetic writer from the british isles that no one understands what the hell he’s talking about has already been done in James Joyce.

JA: I’m pretty sure the Doctor would make Joyce look like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
JC: So a brilliant piece of literature, yeah. Agreed.
But anyway I am having some concerns already that this is an episode that won’t hold up perfectly
JA: I think my biggest nitpick was that I could have done with a little more development for Bill/Heather.
JC: That actually leads perfectly into my crackpot theory I was gonna save for later.
I think we’re going to need a whole section of this discussion for crackpot theorizing.
JC: Well that section starts here: Stand by for crackpot theory.
So I have a hunch that Heather did not initially exist in this episode, and that they were initially the same character. Bill had a star in her eye, and the water monster thing was going to look like her not heather
JA: In an earlier draft? Makes sense, but I think it actually works better this way.
JC: I’m not sure yet. I think that it was re-written because imagining it that way makes Pearl dangerously close to a Moffat Mary Sue/Impossible Girl again
I mean Bill. Gah. She doesn’t seem like a Bill.
JA: I was so glad that she wasn’t an Impossible Girl. After Clara, Amy, and Donna (Yes, Donna was. She was the worst of the lot in that regard. I don’t care what the Internet says.) I really could use a break from that.
Says the guy whose Doctor Who script ideas have an impossible girl companion.

JC: Can the guy whose Doctor Who scripts have endings that generally make sense explain the resolution to this episode?
JA: Heather was joined to spaceship part. Heather promised Bill she wouldn’t leave her (and earlier Bill asked her to take her with her when she left), so that last part of her was still locked onto Bill. (Mostly because of the romantic connection). Bill had to tell her to let go, after having a glimpse of traveling through time and space. Heather did.It seemed pretty straightforward to me. But then, I am crazy.
JC: I guess I’m more hung up on the “futuristic pool of spaceship fuel” thing.
JA: Yeah, that was a little vague and unexplained.Either it’s super arc-relevant, or it’s just a throwaway plot device.With Moffat you never know.
JC: Putting on my cynical hat tells me it’s a throwaway that will needlessly get a retcon explanation in the series finale.

doctor-who-series-10-capaldi-mackie-bill-2

JA: Your cynical hat sounds likely. I think, though, that in general Moffat as a writer is less concerned with how things happen and work and more with the themes and emotions involved.Which can be good or bad depending on the episode.
JC: Just got to the futuristic spaceship fuel part and nope, still doesn’t make sense
JA: Actually, the funny thing is that I realized that part was basically the plot of one of my Doctor Who scripts.

JC: New series, same Moffat stealing your ideas.
JA: My brother told me to start sleeping with a tinfoil hat.

JC: Anyway… as long as I’m the one supplying the negatives, wtf is Nardole’s purpose?
JA: To be great?
JC: He feels shoehorned.
Like why him of all minor characters to promote to regular?
JA: I think he plays off Capaldi brilliantly. I loved the “Can I say no?” “No.” “Then yes. But really no.” exchange. He’s a reluctant companion, which is a new dynamic. All the others want to rush into danger, but Nardole just wants a nice, quiet day.
JC: He just seems like he’s there to say the funny lines there was no room in the script to give to Bill to me. And stand in the background.
And sometimes make a confused face.
JA: I don’t think he NEEDED to be there, but I think the episode benefitted from his lines and personality.
“First, you imagine a big box inside of a little box. Then you have to make it work. That’s the bit that always gives people trouble.”
^That might be the most Douglas Adams-y Doctor Who line since Douglas Adams wrote Doctor Who.
JC: I guess. He just seems like an obvious comic relief character and not really a character on his own.
JA: I think he had to be more of a background figure here so the focus could be on introducing Bill. I’m hoping he gets more as the series goes on
JC: I think you could cut him and combine Bill and Heather to streamline the episode and make it more concise. As much as I liked it, the ending felt rushed and that shouldn’t happen when you have twenty extra minutes.JA: Did it have twenty extra minutes?
JC: My DVR says it’s an hour 13 minutes
JA: IMDB says it’s only 49. So one of those is wrong.JC: One of those is very wrong
JA: I can’t find any other sources right now. Hopefully a helpful commentator can let us know if it’s 15 minutes longer than usual or 5 minutes than usual.
JC: I have a feeling this discussion however will be like 10 paragraphs shorter than normal.
Unless you can conjure another nitpick

series-10-trailer-2017-66

JA: Can I post things that made me made excited nerdy sounds whilst I think of one?
CLASSIC SONIC SCREWDRIVERS!
SUSAN PICTURE!
MOVELLANS! (Seriously. Movellans.)
Also, that Susan picture is either a nerdy reference or clever foreshadowing and I don’t know which.
JC:  tenor

Someone’s going to have to do a lot of editing.

JA: That sounds like a job for Future Us.
Which reminds me, the Doctor at the end is from the future, isn’t he?
“What changed your mind?” “Time.”
Either that’s meaningless or super plot relevant.
JC: I noticed most of the easter eggs (heh) but the only one of them I had an opinion on was the Movellans. Not that I’ve seen their episode, I just thought it was a cool scene. And I thought that that was just a cheesy wrap up line.
JA: I loved that they had Movellans just because they’re so obscure. They were in one episode and looked ridiculous.
And now they’re in two episodes and look ridiculous.
I love it.
JC: I like how much we talk about the actual episodes in these discussions.
JA: Most of our discussion is relevant-ish.
We haven’t listed another major pro. The Daily Mail hates it.
If the Daily Mail hates something, it automatically earns another point.If the Daily Mail likes something, something is probably Hitler.
JC: (Positive review of Rogue One from Daily Mail)
JA: … Damn it.
JC: (Positive review of Rogue One from Daily Mail)
JA: Did you have these stored up for the next time I inevitably accused the Daily Mail of being fascist trash or is your Google fu that good?

JC: (Positive review of Rogue One from Daily Mail)
JA: I get it.
JC: I’m all out. But it’s just my google fu and my sixth sense for detecting who likes bad movies.Did the Daily Mail like Forest of the Night or Kill the Moon?
JA: I was actually talking about an article, not a review.They were very angry. Not because they’re homophobic, but because they’re homophobic.

(Editor’s Note: Daily Mail hyperlinks removed because they’ll get clicks through my blog over my cold, dead corpse – J.A. Prentice)
JC: Ahh. Which is hilarious because that was the most nonchalant character coming out scene ever.
JA: It felt really natural.
JC: And the way that sort of thing should be done. I was actually worried she’d be one of those characters where their entire personality is their race/sexuality or whatever.
JA: I was mildly concerned, but I thought it was perfectly pulled off.
JC: Yeah, no complaints about Bill’s character at all really. Love her wit. Why IS the Tardis an English anagram?
er… acronym.
JA: Well, in the first episode, Susan says she made it up from the initials. So maybe she did base it off English after she landed on earth? And all the times we’ve heard other Time Lords say TARDIS, it’s just the translation circuit?
Or maybe the Daleks hear it as GHRYTF: Grak-Har-Rev-Yen-Tan-Fah or something and we get it translated.
JC: Don’t give Moffat any more ideas.
JA: I can’t help it. We’ve already established he steals them from my mind.

gallery-1492186787-doctor-who-pilot-susan
JC: And since we’re back to beating that dead horse I guess it’s wrap up time
JA: Episode score time! Where I pull a number out of thin air, shrug, and say “Yeah, that sounds right.”
JC: And that number is one higher than my number.
JA: It’s an 8.5/10 for me. Heather and Bill’s relationship was a little underdeveloped, but we had a lot of great lines, good set-up for characters and arcs, and an excellent starting point for the show. If I were introducing someone to the show, this would be the episode I think I’d start with: all the basics with none of the burping rubbish bins or having to explain why he’s crashing, why he’s talking about having changed, and why the TARDIS is on fire.
JC: I was wrong. This is where you give it half a point higher than me. Kinda like It Follows with lesbians, this was a decent story that had a better set up than follow through, great characters (except Nardole) and lovely direction. I think that Moffat narrowly avoided writing a Mary Sue again and instead created a promising, if unproven, companion and a very cool one off that will wind up returning in a shoehorned and unnecessary wrap up plot ten episodes from now. 8/10
JA: It Follows with lesbians needs to go in the title.
JC: I may or may not have thought of that way before the conversation…
JA: And I think that’s everything, except for all the stuff we’ve forgotten.
JC: Put that in an elegant cursive text with a bright background and post it on facebook and it will seem like some super deep philosophical quote
JA: I think I will.
JC: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that should do it. Join us next time for our review of episode 2, “The Babbadook with asexuals”
JA: And I’m off to write “The Babbadook with asexuals.”

Join us next week for our discussion of “Smile!”

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