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.




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.







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?
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