lizbee: (DW: Bill (garden))
[personal profile] lizbee
I can't believe it's taken the show more than fifty years to use that title. Teaspoon has ... okay, only four fics using it. That's less than I expected.

Anyway.



I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.

TIME LORD FEELINGS.

TIME LORD FEELINGS LIKE IT'S ... okay, I will never reach the heights of 2007, when I wrote an entire multi-chapter fic in the week between "Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords". The closest I've come since was in 2011, the week between Lin losing her bending and the airing of the Legend of Korra Book 1 finale, and there I just wrote three one-shots.

But I've definitely had a fair amount of feelings about Time Lords for the last week, and more since I finished this episode yesterday. And I'm eager to talk about them, but first ... we need to talk about Bill.

I love Pearl Mackie. I love her face, her hair, her presence, and I love the energy she brings to Bill. And I love Bill, the character, the way she's down to earth with her head in the stars. But most of a season has gone by, and I feel like we've barely scratched the character's surface. And there have been inconsistencies: she's the woman so curious and clever that the Doctor sought her out to teach her, but she's also the one who needs to have things explained to her. Especially sciencey things, when she is, allegedly, a physics student.

There's a fairly strong rumour going around that Mackie is signed for one year only, that Bill was only ever going to be a single-season companion. This displeases me on a few levels.

One, of course, is optics. The first full-time companion of colour was a single-season companion, and then ten years passed before we got the second. If she is also another short-term companion ... well, it's not a great look. If Mackie is indeed leaving, all I can say is that I hope she is replaced by another woman of colour.

The second is that I really want another season to get to know Bill. Much as I love Time Lords, they do tend to overshadow everyone else, and we've had Nardole taking up space -- I don't even dislike Nardole, mind, but he's not Bill. I honestly thought he'd fade into the background once Bill was established, but no, he's still there, still prominent.

Now, Clara was also very much overshadowed for her first season, in this case by the "Impossible Girl" plotline, which was clever but distracting. I didn't feel like she really came into her own as a character until the Doctor regenerated (and then it turned out I didn't like her much, but you can't say she lacked substance or characterisation).

My point, I guess, is that Clara got that second season (and then a third one, and now she's effectively immortal) to expand her character and have more adventures. I would understand if Chibnall wanted a clean slate, but I want the same for Bill, and I don't think it looks great that the second-ever full-time companion of colour is overshadowed like this.

(Especially after Danny Pink is killed dead forever, but Clara gets to be immortal, like, show, I love you, but you have this consistent problem where you treat your black characters like shit.)

On top of all of these feelings, it's once again maybe not great optics for Bill to be shown mopping floors in this episode. It was, to me, less gross than any of the "black companion or her family are treated as servants" plotlines in RTD's era, because it's not portrayed as demeaning or humiliating, and obviously no one's busting out the maid uniform. But it's a pattern.

All this said, we are literally halfway through the story right now, so I'm withholding judgement until next week.

THESE HAVE BEEN MY FEELPINIONS ABOUT BILL

AND NOW

THE TIME LORD FEELINGS YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR

Ahem:

DFJA;DSJFKLA;JDKLF;JAKL;DJAKLF;JDKAL;JFDKL;AJFDKL;AJFDKL;AJFIOEPWAURIEO;AJFKLDAJFDIPOQWAIEUJALNDF;KLAJDPFAUEOUJA;JDS;KLFJA;LKSDJF;LAJDKL;FAJKDFL;JAK;LFIO

etc.

It's not that I'm a massive fan of the Master as such, but I do love me some Time Lords, and I especially love me some messed up Time Lord emotional dynamics. And enough years have passed that I've repressed most of the memories of "Last of the Time Lords" and "The End of Time", so I'm ready to give Simm!Master another chance.

(Confession: I was not remotely excited about Simm!Master until I saw the goatee.)

Of course, when the Doctor was all, "Missy is important because she's the only person in the universe who is remotely like me," I was like, UM, EXCUSE ME, WHAT IS ROMANA, CHOPPED SPACE LIVER?

But there's a difference between a childhood friend and a protégée, and also I feel like one of the similarities between the Doctor and the Master is their capacity for darkness, which is not really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Romana. (Terrible tie-in fiction aside, I mean, YES, PAUL CORNELL, I'M STILL MAD ABOUT THAT.)

I was also a bit, "Wow, queerbaity understatement much?" at the man crush line, but I've changed my mind, because this is Twelve, who is allergic to emotions. So, like, the Doctor and the Master could be married, and Twelve would still downplay it.

I have to admit that I also kind of changed my mind because apparently some fans are quite cross at even this much of an implication that the Doctor is not 100% heterosexual, even though "man crush" -- or "girl crush" -- is a term used to de-emphasise the romantic/sexual element of a crush, and is basically slang for "I really like that person and want them to be my friend".

I guess where I come down is, the line was sort of queerbaity, but we live in a world where some fans are really, REALLY mad that Time Lords make fun of the gender binary while being played by cis binary people, so representation is a matter of small steps and also everything is a little bit complicated, and also, mainstream pop culture created by cis white straight people is not a great place to look for groundbreaking portrayals of anything outside of the box.

ANYWAY. You know what else is complicated? MISSY. At first I thought there was a genuine possibility she had been lying about her (partial?) reformation, and this was all an elaborate trap, but then I realised she genuinely didn't recognise "Mr Razor" as her former incarnation. Which is fair, neither did I -- John Simm's not bad at that whole acting thing when he gets a chance. (Insert lingering bitterness about RTD-era appearances here.)

I suspect that next week will have some kind of ~thing~ (the technical term) where the Doctor thinks he's been betrayed by Missy, but she'll sacrifice herself betraying the Master. Who'll get his memory wiped. WATCH THIS SPACE.

(But how will they save Bill? NO ONE HAS EVER COME BACK FROM CYBER CONVERSION BEFORE, although that alone is a reason to assume she will. Maybe Missy will save her, making up for that time she tried to convince the Doctor that Clara was a Dalek.)

(BILL IS NOT ALLOWED TO DIE. The world doesn't need another dead lesbian.)

There is so much going on in this episode that I haven't even gotten to the Cybermen yet! Which is a shame, because they were PROPER SCARY. Guys, the Cybermen haven't been scary since "The Invasion", all the way back in 1968.

Of course, what really made the early Cybermen scary was not their appearance (AHAHAHAHA NO), it was their voice. And here, all we really had was people in wheelchairs, with their faces covered, only able to communicate via that creepy voice. Classic horror.

I mean, there are questions, of course, like, What Could Possibly Make The People Of The Ship Think This Is A Good Idea? I'm assuming for now that the answer is, multiple generations living on a space ship will do that to a culture, and also it's probably the Master's fault.

(Likewise, where Mr Razor says no one has managed to go up to the bridge and come back, but we saw the converted going up and bringing Bill back. Plothole? Or blatant lie? I'm going with blatant lie, and Bill was way too dead at the time to know how she got to the hospital.)

I HAVE AN EXCESS OF EVERYTHING: emotions, opinions, fears, questions. IS IT NEXT WEEK YET?

Date: 2017-06-26 05:17 am (UTC)
xwingace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xwingace
It was probably a blatant lie on the *Master's* part.... but given the time dilation, it is likely what the regular people living in the streets see happening. While those 'special patients' were up there, a decade or more passed on the bottom floors. The mission to one of the halfway floors was maybe a little less time-diluted, but those people would have wanted to *stay longer*.

Alternatively, those are the people Blue Guy fought, trying to defend himself.

Date: 2017-06-26 11:55 am (UTC)
sabotabby: (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
I am legit worried that they will kill Bill because I love her so much and I feel like this show is okay with permakilling POC in a way that it's not with permakilling white people. But also I don't think they would be quite that stupid and I'm guessing that the solution will have something to do with time dilation (remember, Nardole has already suggested going back in time to fix the thing), and Missy sacrificing herself to become the Doctor.

I actually yelled, "WHAT ABOUT ROMANA?!" at the TV, although Axel insists that the Doctor and the Master both ran away from Gallifrey and Romana was pretty Lawful Good so maybe that's what he's talking about? And they grew up together whereas Romana was still a lot younger. But I was still annoyed.

Date: 2017-06-26 03:19 pm (UTC)
selenay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selenay
Missy sacrificing herself to become the Doctor.

Oh, good, it's not just me having that theory!

I agree with Axel that Romana is very different, both because of her Lawful Good thing and her status as protege instead of childhood friend. I feel like the Doctor was saying that Missy is the only person who is like him not just at the species level, but in their outlooks and experiences, because Romana is awesome but didn't have the same background. This was the first time I really *got* the way that they're so very similar, deep down, and the small differences are what spin them off into being on different sides of right and wrong.

Date: 2017-06-26 02:30 pm (UTC)
londonkds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] londonkds
Considering that Moffat had someone resist Cyber-conversion successfully through the Power of Love, which some fans were outraged about, I'm hopeful.

Date: 2017-06-26 03:16 pm (UTC)
selenay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selenay
I am just A+ with you on all the Bill feelings and all the Time Lord feelings and relieved I'm not the only person who had *no clue* Mr Razor was John Simm for a big chunk of the episode.

Date: 2017-06-27 07:52 pm (UTC)
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
From: [personal profile] prof_pangaea
yooooo i am GOOD with faces (and voices) and i had no idea it was simm until the scene with missy started! and i even at one point went, "i wonder if that is john simm because otherwise why is he wearing so many prosthetics" but i was like, "he doesn't SOUND like john simm though??" and HELLO, SELF, COME ON.

anyway congrats to the master on his first ever good disguise! *applause*

Date: 2017-06-30 09:51 pm (UTC)
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
From: [personal profile] prof_pangaea
I didn't even see the prosthetics! Though my stream is pretty patchy. I just remembered, about thirty seconds before the reveal, that Simm was meant to be in this episode.

i was totally texting [personal profile] nonelvis "what is up with this half-klingon quasi-rastafarian dude, i don't understand why he is here" and i assume she spent the ENTIRE time between that text and "HOW THE FUCK DID SIMM FOOL ME LIKE THAT" laughing at me

HE'S BEEN TRYING FOR SO MANY CENTURIES

HE WAS BOUND TO FIGURE IT OUT EVENTUALLY


awww, bless his evil li'l hearts. <3

also, even though simm is amongst those annoyed that his presence got leaked before the series aired, his ego must be thriving with all the EVEN THOUGH I WAS EXPECTING HIM I STILL HAD NO IDEA commentary flying around.

Date: 2017-06-28 10:57 pm (UTC)
dbskyler: (Ten expression)
From: [personal profile] dbskyler
Even when I re-watched the episode and knew that it was John Simm, I couldn't recognize his voice AT ALL until he was back to speaking as the Master. How does he DO that?

(Also, the way he moves is different, and he's all hunched over, and I could swear he's shorter.)

Date: 2017-06-27 07:53 pm (UTC)
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
From: [personal profile] prof_pangaea
ps YOU MADE AN ICON YESSSSSSSS
prof_pangaea: twelve looking into a mirror (you are a broom)
From: [personal profile] prof_pangaea
well, you have your priorities

Date: 2017-06-26 09:49 pm (UTC)
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
From: [personal profile] prof_pangaea
TIME LORD FEELINGS LIKE IT'S ... okay, I will never reach the heights of 2007, when I wrote an entire multi-chapter fic in the week between "Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords".

I HAVE BEEN THINKING OF THAT. good memories. i read your fic on the grass outside the library (which was closed, it was a sunday morning after i got off my twelve hour shift at work and i didn't have internet at home so i had to go use the library's wifi). this is also probably the closest i've gotten to the heights of 2007 so it looks like all i need is a bomb ass black companion, the master, and a lot of gayness and i will always be reeled back in.

Confession: I was not remotely excited about Simm!Master until I saw the goatee.

i was watching the fan show and brian minchin said the goatee was actually simm's idea!! which delights me to no end. and i saw a clip of simm talking about playing the master again and he was like... more cheerful than i've ever seen him in any interview ever? so i think you were BOTH quite excited to fix the problems created by "the end of time".

I love Pearl Mackie. I love her face, her hair, her presence, and I love the energy she brings to Bill. And I love Bill, the character, the way she's down to earth with her head in the stars. But most of a season has gone by, and I feel like we've barely scratched the character's surface.

all of your bill feels are my bill feels, with the addition of HOLY SHIT WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO SUFFER SO MUCH??? like, ten years in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, plus the doctor's creepy stalker ex who befriends and then cyberises her JUST TO FUCK WITH THE DOCTOR, plus the cyberisation itself, which is all i can think about because we've just gotten an entire episode telling us that the process leaves people in so much pain that all they can do is beg for death. THAT IS. A. LOT.

i don't doubt that bill will not end up dead. i'm more worried about how. and whether she'll still have had to suffer so much. or whether she'll have all of her experiences with the doctor erased (that quick clip of a little black girl with an afro in the trailer for next week had me wondering if we'll see a young bill, if the doctor tries to go back in time and fix everything so she never dies, potentially by making her never have met him WHICH I WOULD HATE).

anyway. i don't think moff will repeat his previous mistakes re: black characters (or russell's), but i AM concerned about what new ones he could make instead.

this is leaving me all conflicted because i think the story was INCREDIBLE. and if bill weren't the second full-time black companion, and if we hadn't just gotten the "black character dies/white character is so special she gets to be immortal" storyline i would have a lot less concern for bill going through all this horror because this is doctor who and horror is part of the deal, and this horror was EXQUISITELY WRITTEN. it's just, we do have all that baggage. it all feels very "colourblind" in the most oblivious ways.

but still. saving final judgement until next week.

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