lizbee: (DW: The Two Masters)
[personal profile] lizbee
Non-spoilery take: overall I liked it a lot, but had some issues with the subtext.



BUT FIRST, a word to British Twitter:

What is it with you people and spoilers?

Not even a hashtag a person can mute! No other country in the world does this, not even the USA! Isn't it bad enough that you tried to take over the world?

Having said that, I wound up being slightly glad that someone tweeted, "I'm so happy that Bill gets a happy ending with her puddle spaceship girlfriend", because I don't think I'd have enjoyed the episode as much if I hadn't known Bill would come out of it okay. Slightly damp, but alive and able to resume her human life if and when she chooses.

It's weird, because I'm usually all about fictional characters suffering agonies, and if canon doesn't provide, I'll gladly pile them on in fic. I quite like hurt/comfort, especially when the comfort bit is optional. But with Bill, I run up against the problem we discussed last week: that in Doctor Who -- and a lot of other pop culture -- black characters often suffer more than white ones, and with less payoff.

I'm still not thrilled with how Bill's run has ultimately gone -- from the uneven approach to her knowledge and interests, to the discussion no one's having about how the Doctor's implanted instruction to wait for him kept her in place for ten years, when without it she might have been less passive and less vulnerable to the Master. I'm quite unhappy that so far, 100% of full-time companions of colour have only stuck around for a year.

I'm glad that Bill is alive, and okay, and that she got the same ending as Clara, only more overtly queer. I'm prepared to call that a win.

I wish that, aside from the other missteps along the way, the journey from Point Cyberisation to Destination Happy Ending didn't include the Doctor telling Bill she couldn't be angry, which is not, in this day and age, a good approach to take when writing dialogue between a white man and a black woman. It makes sense in-universe, it's just -- once again -- bad optics. As <lj user="nonelvis"> remarked about last week's episode, it's a case of colourblind writing gone horribly wrong.

My other beef with the episode -- no, with the whole season -- is that, now we know how Nardole's story ends, I'm kind of like, so...meh. I've never been anti-Nardole, but I assumed that once Bill was established, he'd fade into the background. Instead, he's just ... there, and while he's not awful, he's just kind of pointless. I like that, in the end, he's the one strong enough to stay in one place and protect people, just as he's been trying to get the Doctor to do all season. But I don't think he has added anything significant to the season.

(Which makes it rather appropriate that his ending involves sending him away to protect people whose descendants will inevitably be attacked by Cybermen or sucked into a black hole or both at once. It's both touching and, in a cosmic sense, pointless. But I suppose the Doctor would point out, not unfairly, that it matters to the people who get to live. Is this a metaphor for humanity?)

Anyway, these are my complaints and objections.

What I enjoyed, of course, were the Time Lord shenanigans. In fact, a whole episode -- no, two whole episodes -- of the Doctor, the Master and Missy hanging out on a rooftop, flirting, teasing and occasionally threatening, might have been better than attempting to get all of that plus a plot. (As usual, it's a mystery why no networks are begging me to put my keen narrative instincts to work for them.)

I was completely unexcited at the prospect of Simm!Master returning, but at last he's been redeemed from the memory of "End of Time". Simm is, once again, quite good at the whole acting thing, and I'm glad he got a chance to play the part without a whole lot of effects, pyrotechnics and bluescreen -- his bits were mostly just dialogue, and it was great.

The two Masters killing each other was ... look, I'm a bit devastated, because they were so good together, and why couldn't we get a whole season with no Doctor, just the bad guys? Or, rather, one bad guy, one "it's complicated" lady.

I'm also just a tiny bit devastated that Missy dies alone (without hope, without witness), and the Doctor will never know that she finally made the right choice. ("Tiny bit devastated" = "I'm tearing up right now".)

I mean, I understand why -- if Missy had been able to help the Doctor, if he had even known she was coming, the Master's story would be over. It's like learning the Doctor's name, or the real reason he left Gallifrey (Kevin, and because he couldn't stand the teasing, obviously). It's hard to walk that back, and then the Doctor would need a new nemesis.

But, ya know. Disappointing. Devastating. I suddenly want all the Missy fic, and also we should start speculating about who Chibbers will cast as the next Master.

(I want to say Natalie Dormer? But I also want to keep Dormer in reserve for the Rani.)

(Obviously Missy is going to regenerate. The Master said she couldn't, but, well, he's kind of not very good at this sort of thing. See for example: the Doctor.)

IN CONCLUSION


There are a lot of extremely valid criticisms to be made of this two-parter, but I, personally, liked it a lot more than "Last of the Time Lords" and I'm calling that a win. Also, British Twitter should really consider hash tags, or better yet, just hold off on livetweets for 24 hours.
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