Doctor Who Discussion: We Agree on The Last Jedi, But Not On This

It’s the end. But the moment has been prepared for.

Not very well prepared because it took us a couple days to get this up. But, y’know, prepared-ish.

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Join Jaden Kilmer (JC) and J.A. Prentice (JA) on this, our last journey in the TARDIS with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat, as we bid farewell to an era in our discussion of Twice Upon A Time.

There are Spoilers ahead.

JC: Who talks first? Do you talk first, or do I talk first?

JA: You can tell that line was ad-libbed because it was good.

JC: I think my opinions are going to be so predictable you could probably write them for me. lol

JC: I’m actually not sure what you thought. I am guessing we’re going to go back to you being the optimist and me the pessimist

JA: I guess so?

I basically had only one issue and loved everything else.

JC: I thought it was a roughly 60 minute long series of moving images with music and audio overlaid

It included characters and dialogue and had a plot.

JA: I thought it was a beautiful epilogue, although admittedly not very much happened.

JC: I thought that not very much happened but it certainly seemed to think it was beautiful. But I will concede that it was, in fact, an epilogue.

JA: It actually brought a lot of things full circle in very clever ways.

Like Clara?

JA: Rusty the Dalek was a great callback to the Doctor’s identity crisis in Series 8.

I actually liked Clara as well.

It was a nice moment that didn’t overpower the episode.

JC: Rusty wasn’t a full circle thing for me since I felt his story was finished anyway. So it was nice but didn’t offer any closure or something I was missing.

JA: I thought it worked well in combination with meeting his first self and the speech at the end.

Because now he knows who the Doctor is and who he is.

JC: Meh.

I sort of see the thread but it’s not deep or interesting or anything to me.

JA: It’s not super deep. It’s just a nice connection.

JC: I think it was so busy making little connections it forgot to be interesting.

Or figure out a reason for 1 to be in it.

JA: 1 had some great moments – seeing his future, his conversation with Bill – but it didn’t fully come together there.

And his character was undermined by the grating jokes that were completely out of character.

JC: When I first heard about the jokes he makes I thought it would be one or two throwaway lines.

I didn’t realize it was a character assassination.

JA: Same.

The first line was funny, but then it just became a disaster.

JC: The nurse one? I thought that was pretty bad. I chuckled at him chastising Bill’s language, which would make character sense and reference the changing times of the show just fine, and then it went on too far.

But my main problem with 1 is he is of no use to the story.

Same with British Hitler

JA: The joke about Polly not being around to clean, followed by 12 insisting he can’t say that. Which was already borderline but the rest were worse.

Chastising language and sunglasses were much better.

Those were in character.

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JC: Was certainly hoping for more out of him than a couple of funny cranky grandpa lines though.

Like “having a role in the story” and “not being sexist for some reason”

JA: Yeah. I think the intention behind everything was that the situations mirrored each other because each was afraid of what they’d become, but they didn’t go into it enough.

JC: Or at all, really. And then there’s British Hitler with even less to do.

JA: He has some great moments. Gatiss really acted the hell out of it.

JC: Fun fact my DVR recorded 2 hours, it included the post show thing the BBC did recapping 12’s run. It fooled me into thinking that there was this second half to come with Jodie

JA: Mine did that too.

JC: So that kind of affected my expectations but since that happened for both of us guess it didn’t do too much.

One thing that came to mind right after I saw it was that I don’t think I could recap what happens in it.

JA: Does that matter, though?

JC: I think it shows that there’s not much of a thread to it. The things that happen don’t really feel connected to one another.

JA: I’m rethinking all my views on criticism post-The Last Jedi because clearly our culture has broken somewhere and I think that we put too emphasis on plot and not enough on art.

Which is a pretentious way of saying that I think it doesn’t matter that the plot’s kind of all over the place if the end result is beautiful.

But then I suppose everything becomes  subjective.

JC: Ah but you see the problem with The Last Jedi critics is they think they’re mad over plot holes but they’re really just doing a cinema sins impression and missing the point of its plot entirely.

This had no plot or point.

It was “thing from the past, thing from the past, speech, credits.”

JA: I think it had a point, even if it got a little muddled.

JC: Which was?

JA: It was a story about acceptance, about change, about identity.

Both Doctors have to come to terms with what they are. The glass people may or may not be “real.”

They’ve all changed their state.

Are they still them? Will they still be them?

The Captain, like the Doctors, is frozen in one moment. He has to face what’s coming, just like they do.

It stumbles a little in delivering that point, but there is a point.

JC: We’ve seen that concept approximately 15 thousand times in sci-fi, 9 thousand of those times in Doctor Who. This is Moffat’s swansong, he had forever to think of something poignant, and he delivered a muddled execution of a retread story.

It worked in one scene where fake Bill asks if we’re really anything but our memories, I thought that worked.

But 1 being all concerned with who he’d become is just a worse War Doctor arc

Ditto 12

JA: Especially in that scene, it seemed a call back to Deep Breath’s monologue about the broom.

JC: The what

JA: If you replace the broomstick, then the brush, is it still the same broom?

His whole thing to the half-faced man.

JC: Oh the Theseus’s ship speech

JA: That one.

JC: Then again, while that scene with Bill did work, people have been asking this question since literally ancient Greece

JA: It does, I think, have some resonance when we’re leading into a new Doctor.

JC: I guess but again not really new ground for the show.

JA: I don’t think this episode broke any new ground, but I don’t think it was trying to.

It was an epilogue.

I just remembered how much I liked the Doctor’s line about not knowing what to do when there isn’t an evil plan.

That was an interesting-ish twist. An episode with no real antagonist.

JC: That was my favorite line and actually something I’ve wanted in a finale forever

But then the rest of the episode revealed why that’s so hard to do

JA: True.

JC: I guess the fundamental disagreement here is whether there was enough internal conflict then? Since there’s purposely no external.

JA: I think it started interesting but didn’t really stick the landing. Lots of great lines, but no real deep addressing of either Doctor’s issue with changing.

JC: Ugh we’re gonna do the whole disagree at first then wind up one number apart in score thing are we?

JA: Probably. My score’s still going to be pretty high, though.

It’s more a case of I think this could have been a high 9/10 episode but it didn’t really go deep enough.

JC: OK so we should get at least 2 points apart.

What did you think of the debut of the worst thing to ever happened to Doctor Who that ruined everything and killed babies but spared Hitler?

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JA: “Oh, Brilliant.”

Those were the perfect words for that moment.

It was going to be a hard moment to pull off and they nailed it.

JC: Yeah agreed there.

JA: Although I am really sick of splodey regenerations now.

JC: We had an unsplodey one last time

JA: Doesn’t count because he blew up a freaking Dalek fleet while glowing all over the place first.

JC: But other than that tiny thing it was perfectly calm!

JA: Sure, other than that.

So the first episode of next series is going to have the Doctor looking for the TARDIS, isn’t it?

Or cut off from the TARDIS entirely for a while. That could be interesting.

JC: Or it will pull an Episode 7 and she’ll crash in the backyard of a redheaded scottish girl with no parents

That ending did give me serious Eleventh Hour flashbacks

JA: It did, apart from her being cut off from the TARDIS.

You’d think if regenerations were so destructive it blew up half the room, you would try to regenerate somewhere other than next to the console.

JC: Yeah that always crosses my mind.

JA: Which is another reason I’m against splodey regenerations.

JC: What about the pre splosion speech?

JA: I loved it.

This incarnation started off not knowing who or what the Doctor was and ends up knowing better themself perfectly.

He summed up the character in a couple lines.

JC: I thought it was a good speech in a vacuum but the revelations unearned, at least in this story.

I’m still not sure exactly what in the story made him come around and know himself better or whatever

JA: I think saving those two lives –one  the life of his best friend’s grandfather – helped him see the impact he could have.

And seeing his past self’s fears helped him realize his fears for his future were unfounded.

JC: If that was the intention I don’t buy that.

Easiest solution since “the trees are helping us”

JA: Agree to disagree.

JC: Yeah gets pretty subjective here.

Also at the risk of being a nitpick it doesn’t even try to explain why 12 doesn’t remember the moment

JA: Because of Time Lords not remembering what happens when they meet themself, which was established in Day of the Doctor, although it could maybe have been reiterated here.

JC: Well 12 wonders aloud why he doesn’t remember it like it’s something that will be followed up. So it provokes the question without answering it and now I sound like a TLJ critic but damn it TLJ did it better

JA: I admit TLJ was better.

JC: This is like a Star Wars discussion pretending to be a Doctor Who discussion

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JA: It’s a cunning disguise.

JC: But in our defense Star Wars was much more interesting. I don’t think there’s too much to go over here.

JA: I did sort of feel while watching it that there wasn’t that much to go over, which is disappointing.

Although I’d like to take a moment to say that “Testimony” is pretty much the City of the Saved from Faction Paradox.

SO Moffat stole one more idea from the books on his way out. lol

JC: It’s sorta kinda that thing Missy was doing in 8 as well except not evil

JA: True.

JC: I will have to re-iterate that I loved that he went for a non-antagonist plot and that’s something I’ve wanted for a while.

JA: It was a great choice, as was using the Christmas Armistice.

I could have done with more of that, actually.

JC: Historically accurate stories are good stories.

JA: This is a Fact.

And also why we need to bring back pure historicals.

JC: However, here’s something just coming to mind: Why did the Testimony try to prevent their escape?

JA: Because they needed to bring Captain Lethbridge-Stewart back to the moment of his death.

JC: OK they were chasing the Captain not the Doctor

JA: Yeah. They didn’t care about the Doctor.

JC: Well speaking of him, why the hell did he look so much like Hitler?

JA: I think he was supposed to look like the Brigadier.

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JC: I thought it was an intentional fake out for some reason with the whole “would be better if I spoke German” line acting as the “yeah that’s right he’s not Hitler” reveal.

And then I was imagining this plot where the Doctor’s vanity accidentally saves Hitler and that was more interesting than what happened

JA: They basically did that story with the Witch’s Familiar.

Not sure there’d be any ground left to cover.

JC: Maybe that’s why my mind went there

JA: Are there any other non-Hitler, non-Last Jedi points or should we do the final summaries/scores for the very last Capaldi episode?

And very last Moffat episode.

JC: Should we talk about Talalay?

JA: I love Talalay except for her regeneration effects decisions.

And it was her decision, she said it in the special thing they showed afterwards.

JC: To go all splosiony?

JA: Indeed.

The funny thing is that in that scene, with that lighting, the new TARDIS finally really grew on me just in time for it to blow up.

JC: That’s the one thing that didn’t bother me as much as it did you but I did realize I need her to do a WW1 movie

JA: Yes.

JC: Imagine her with a budget

JA: A WW1 movie with a budget? Don’t be absurd.

JC: It will happen one day…

JA: I guess Wonder Woman?

JC: We should mention this discussion is sponsored by The Darkest Hour, the critically acclaimed 557th movie about the Blitz

Actually Wonder Woman may be the best WW1 movie ever

JA: It’s possible.

JC: Wait isn’t Lawrence of Arabia WW1?

JA: WAIT

It is.

I love that movie.

I forgot because it focuses on the other front.

JC: OK never mind pretend I never said that thing about Wonder Woman I’d like to have at least a shred of credibility

Scores?

JA: Scores. Want to go first or shall I?

JC: Depends. Are we sending Moffat off with praise or mild boredom?

I guess praise is better

JA: You go first, then, and I’ll get all glowy.

But not explode or change into a woman.

JC: Well I guess to be succinct while I get that Moffat was intentionally trying to surprise us with a quiet and simple story he made it too quiet and too simple. It did not provide any new takes on sci-fi ideas or the Doctor as a character, nor did it provide a compelling reason for the First Doctor to make an appearance here. It was not awful, and contained some good lines and was visually interesting, but was ultimately too small in emotion or peril to be a satisfying conclusion to Moffat’s stay. I give it a Colin Baker out of Tennant

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JA: The Doctor Falls was Capaldi’s climax, his real conclusion. This was his epilogue and it was a good epilogue. It called back to his first series, has great performances from all its cast, and made excellent use of historical events. The Clara memory moment was a nice, sweet one that gave closure and I loved the appearance of Rusty the Dalek. It struggled a little with developed both Doctor’s dilemma and the sexism was bizarre given that I can only think of one comparable Hartnell line in the entirety of his tenure. But Capaldi’s final speech, his message to his future self, was incredible, and Whittaker manages to grasp hold of the character with two perfect words that make me excited for the future even as I mourn for my favorite of the new series Doctors.

John Hurt out of Tennant.

That’s an 8.5.

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I acknowledge that it’s not a rational score, but I’m not a rational man.

JC: Not sure if that was a math joke…

JA: I don’t know enough math to make math jokes.

JC: That’s what I thought.

You don’t know math, I dislike things you like, everything is back to normal.

JA: Who knows? Maybe we’ll flip next series.

I could actually see it happening.

JC: I’m honestly kind of sort of hyped

JA: As am I.

Join us at some point in the (far) future, when Series 11 is actually released and we talk about it!

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