Welcome to the penultimate Doctor Who Discussion, as Jaden C. Kilmer and J.A. Prentice discuss the first part of the Series 10 finale, World Enough and Time. For our discussion of the poem from which the title comes, see our upcoming series J.A. Prentice talks about Elizabethan poetry while everyone else falls asleep.
Read on for almost as many SPOILERS as the BBC Marketing Team has already provided.
JA: This is the Cyberman TV story I have always wanted.
Jaden: I’m not sure how its THAT different
JA: The scene with the volume settings…
It also captures why the original Cyberman are so disturbing.
People were so desperate to survive, they CHOOSE to become Cybermen.
Though it’s not like New Doctor Who has never touched on the cybermen being in pain all the time right?
Jaden: And it’s CERTAINLY not the first or fifth time the companion gets turn into a cyberman
When has that ever happened before? Are we calling Danny a companion?
JA: Almost doesn’t count.
Jaden: Well the tension is pretty much the same I think. And yeah I’m counting Danny and I’m pretty sure also Rose or Martha
JA: Never happened with Rose or Martha.
Martha never even had a story with the Cybermen in it.
Jaden: I’m almost positive Rose or a minor companion was turned into one or almost did
But it’s been too long since I’ve seen Tennant stories
But that’s REALLY stretching companion.
Jaden: Anywayyy that’s not my main source of apprehension, though it is one
JA: I just wanted to completely demolish your argument before you made your next point.
Jaden: My main thing is this is ALL set up. It hinges entirely on the resolution to me, and we know that Moffat hasn’t always stuck the landing
JA: That’s true. I’m apprehensive, but going off just this episode, it was a masterpiece.
Doesn’t mean the complete story will be.
I had literally one complaint.
The BBC marketing department needs to stop.
Jaden: I dont follow any marketing for a reason
JA: They put John Simm and the Mondasian Cybermen over everything.
Before The Pilot even aired.
I think if I hadn’t known either was in the episode, I’d have stared open-jawed at teh screen for a solid hour after the episode finished.
Jaden: Ah, yeah that’s an issue for me too. Less John Simm and more Mondasian. Even I was blasted with that news and I actively try to avoid Doctor Who news.
JA: They didn’t present it like it was going to be a spoiler, but it was.
Jaden: Also, I like, really don’t care about John Simm’s master.
JA: I didn’t before, but I loved him here.
Also, am I really stupid or was his disguise/acting REALLY good?
Jaden: He was fine. That’s basically the word for the episode for me. Fine. I don’t have big complaints, but nothing wowed me.
JA: Did you recognize him?
That’s why I was impressed.
Jaden: Before I answer that I am going to google something to make sure I don’t embarass myself
I did actually assume that there was a different actor playing his disguise.
JA: I also had to look it up.
I think that proves my point. lol
Jaden: Hm. Yeah, points there.
However, I still fail to get a wow factor here.
It was solid, but nothing really shocked me. The first hospital scene came closest.
Although we still don’t have context.
Jaden: The one you referred to as the volume scene.
JA: No, I was making a seperate point. I was saying that the first scene in the episode was shocking.
Jaden: I actively dislike that scene.
I started out loving it, and then there was that Season 4 Sherlock style fake out
I don’t think it’s a fake out, actually.
Jaden: Ah, the cold open. Well I have no feelings about that scene.
As you said, no resolution. I fully expect it to be a fakeout in the end though, I’ll love it if it isn’t.
JA: If nothing else, you have to have opinions on Capaldi’s hair.
JA: It’s been growing with each episode, so I think it’s only fitting he has crazy hair at his regeneration.
Jaden: Fake regeneration.
I REALLY want to be wrong, but this is what this show and Sherlock has done to me. Nothing is real.
JA: I genuinely don’t think it’s fake. I think it’s just nonlinear.
Jaden: Well yeah it’s nonlinear, but I think when we get to it at the end of the next episode he’s not actually gonna regenerate into Kris Marshall/Hayley Atwell.
JA: I think we’ll end on that opening with the regeneration starting, leading into the Christmas special.
Jaden: I will be livid if they drag that scene out into christmas
JA: Calling it: it’ll be a take on It’s A Wonderful Life mixed with The Abominable Bride.
I understand how Moffat’s brain works.
Jaden: Because he just steals your ideas.
Jaden: Kind of a loose discussion here, since my thoughts are “it was fine, depends majorly on the finale which will likely not be good” and yours are “masterpiece.”
JA: Well, I’m a bit biased because I’ve been wanted the classic creepy Cybermen back for ages. And I really wanted a proper Master in disguise scene since the new series hasn’t really given us one.
Jaden: Did we really get those Cybermen though? As I said at the start they didn’t feel all that different.
JA: The voices, the cloth faces, the creepy hospital, the voluntary change… They definitely feel creepier than the new series Cybermen to me. The only time the new series got close to it was the first story.
Jaden: Though Bill is still forced to change.
THAT would have been different, had Bill elected to change
JA: If I were making one tweak to the story, I think that might be it.
Bill being so driven to despair that she becomes a Cyberman.
Man, now I really wish they’d done that.
Jaden: Haha, one point to me.
JA: I feel like it might have been a little too dark in an already envelope pushing episode of a family show, though.
Jaden: Series 9 was routinely as dark as that, I’d say.
JA: I don’t think Series 9 was any darker than this episode. But maybe I’m forgetting something.
Jaden: Face The Raven was an exercise in existential dread for me
JA: I thought this episode was way darker than Face the Raven.
Jaden: Hm, an American fighting a Brit, gee I wonder who will win…
JA: The ones who burnt your White House.
Remind me about the American assault on the Houses of Parliament.
Jaden: Well there was that thing at New Orleans…
I’d give this episode the darkness edge if it felt less familiar. The background was different, but the basic plot is still familiar ground to me.
JA: I felt it would have felt a bit less so if they’d left the Cybermen out of the trailers and press.
Jaden: It would’ve added some more punch to it, surely. But as someone in the dark about Mondasian Cybermen before this series I can’t tell you it would’ve made a huge difference had I not heard they were gonna return
I would’ve probably said it was a better than average Cybermen episode.
JA: I think that the Cybermen being one of my favorite monsters probably gives it an edge for me. Especially since I think they’ve been treated poorly in a lot of the new series.
Jaden: Oh, I remembered something I meant to say a while ago
I actually think the whole voluntary transformation thing felt underdeveloped. He basically just said they did it “to be strong?” But it was also a lie?
JA: They did it because everything was dying at the far end of the colony ship. They had no resources and their air was turning to poison.
We don’t know whether the team going missing on another floor was a lie or not.
I’m hoping not and there is some other complication.
Jaden: I’m curious to see how, if at all, the next part resolves this. I’m unconvinced if it being the Master was actually a good twist, because I don’t think we were given any clues.
It was written just straight up like he was whatever he said his name was
JA: We weren’t given any huge clues, but it makes sense.
I also loved his bad tea and good tea lines.
Jaden: So did I, but I’m having a hard time reconciling those scenes with the twist. He’s her friend for a year+, and the WHOLE time he wanted to turn her?
Jaden: That just seems unnecessary though. Like, what a boring evil plan.
Kinda like that undercover cop in the south park episode about prostitutes. Though that’s not a reference you’re gonna get right?
JA: Making the Doctor’s closest friend trust him? While the Doctor can do nothing about it?
Seems like something the Master would get a kick out of.
Jaden: Hm, yeah I just don’t really see it. I’d think he’d just wanna hurry up and convert her and get on with the plan, whatever that plan winds up being.
JA: “You’d delay an execution to pull the wings off a fly.” The fourth Doctor talking to the Master.
So, yeah, 100% in character.
Jaden: If it’s in character, which I’m not convinced of, then I guess I just find the character uninteresting/not believable.
We’ll kinda see with the followup if this twist was good or not.
JA: We also don’t know he could have hurried up. Perhaps the Cyberman stuff was moving as fast as it could, so he just took the opportunity to mess with Bill and the Doctor while he could.
JA: Hopefully next episode will give more details on what he’s doing there and why.
Jaden: Spoiler: It either wont or it wont make sense with the set up.
Jaden: I’m just kind of whelmed, personally. It was fine. But it was also all setup. The big moments were spoiled months in advance, and the hype around a return to creepier cybermen didn’t really feel all that different to me. It mainly hinges on the second part, and I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t hold up. I think when looking back the Master being in disguise all along won’t feel believable and we are gonna get a pretty generic “run away from the cybermen” plot. It suffers from that Sherlock thing where there’s a moment that seems incredibly dramatic and serious (Bill getting shot) and then Moffat pulling back the curtain and saying “JK that didnt really happen like you thought it did.” That’s not to say it was bad. As I said, it was fine. There were some great scenes. It was just kind of… safe, to be honest. When you think about all the hype leading into it.
7.5/10, half a point added for John Simm’s performance in disguise. Rating will change though depending on second part.
Oh, and I forgot to mention I didn’t think Talalay did as good a job with this one as she had before.
JA: There are three things the ideal Doctor Who story needs:
This story has it by the ton – good tea and bad tea, “Doctor Who”
Clever Science Fiction concepts
The black hole time dilation was used to incredible effect. The sci-fi ideas behind the Cybermen also felt more explored than usual.
Sweet Rassilon, did it have horror. The volume. The cloth faces. The hospital in general. The single tear rolling from Bill’s eye…
And that’s not even getting into Simm’s incredible performance, the genius with which the Mondasian Cybermen were recreated, the way the comedy gives way to sudden, meaningless tragedy, the despair in Capaldi’s face and voice in the cold open… This gets a 10/10.
Please let the finale and Christmas special be great. I need one last blaze of brilliance before Chibnall casts his shadow over the show.
Join us next week for our discussion of The Doctor Falls!