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.

Date: 2017-07-03 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] capalxii
the discussion no one's having about how the Doctor's implanted instruction to wait for him kept her in place for ten years,

the only reason I'm not having this discussion is I'm too livid and upset about this, and everything else that happened to Bill that I can't have anything remotely resembling a discussion. but I'm 100% here for reading other people talk about how gross it was. this two parter was a complete loss for me, even Heather coming back felt tacked on--yes it's good Bill got to live, but imo no it's not good that she lives via another girl who never got time on the show beyond her initial appearance, where she was barely verbal and so for me it felt like a double fail for not developing Heather or, barring that, a character or arc that could've bridged that. instead we got Nardole.

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.

fwiw, I think he does know; they showed her taking his hand in hers before following Simm, so between her comments that she wanted to stand by him & that, I think she was signaling that she had the knife and she was going to use it.


Date: 2017-07-03 06:13 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] capalxii
one thing I enjoyed about Heather's return is that it was foreshadowed all through "The Doctor Falls"

see, my problem is it was foreshadowed in tdf, a but hadn't been referenced since the pilot. I'm not asking for hand holding in terms of writing it, just some connective tissue. they could've eliminated Nardole and maybe not have brought back Heather, but done something to at least indicate that she was learning how to control her powers and was keeping an eye on Bill or capable of it.

I get that Moffat is really into "waiting" as an expression of love and trust, but it's been done.

I think it wasn't the repetitive nature of the concept, it was that it was basically forced on Bill. that was cruel and needless, telling someone to wait for you when you know there's a good chance you might not make it is bad enough but implanting it in her brain was horrifying

I get people are looking at this story like, this pile of good things outweighs the bad, and I do want to be clear I'm not saying anyone else should hate it, but for me personally the bad things were just too unintentionally horrifying and depressing, to the point where what little good there was is completely overshadowed

Date: 2017-07-03 10:39 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
Saw a (spoiler free) thread on Twitter yesterday about Moffat and making characters wait: https://twitter.com/Cavalorn/status/881436763176259584
Edited (typo) Date: 2017-07-03 10:39 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-03 09:16 am (UTC)
miss_s_b: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_s_b
Also, re the hand-holding, he might have punted a bit of artron energy into her to boost her regenerative powers?

Date: 2017-07-03 12:10 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: Missy kissing Twelve (DW Twelve/Missy)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
I think she was signaling that she had the knife and she was going to use it.

THANK YOU. That lingering hand shot has been bugging me, because it felt significant well beyond my shipper-lens view of "they are communicating their loooooooove." This explanation makes a lot of sense.

Date: 2017-07-03 01:44 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
Oh, tons of good points. I'm ashamed that the "control your anger" thing didn't even occur to me.

My biggest complaint was that the Master and Missy had no effect on the actual plot. It all would have gone the same way if they hadn't been there.

I figured out a way to fix that this morning and posted it and now I'm sad that they didn't do this. Spoiler: It involves Nardole not existing.

Date: 2017-07-04 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] capalxii
man i'm all in favor of nardole never existing. nothing he did, in terms of moving the plot along or making a narrative point, could not have been done by either Missy or Bill, and the series from Oxygen onwards would've been stronger on so many fronts for it (from The Pilot to Oxygen it was stellar, and then...bleh)

the "you can't be angry" combined with the townspeople treating her like garbage, with apparently either no self-awareness of the optics or no capability of handling the issue deftly, was just too much with context. and it's something that could've been solved if there had been one (1) non-western European writer in the writing room, and since Moffat has had five (f'ing 5) years to get that done and the show as a whole has had 10 since the restart, there's no excuse. none. they managed to bring back Peter Harness twice, and Gatiss about ten trillion times, so that tells me it's a back-burner issue for them. plus it was just weird, and your hypnotic userpic is reminding me why--earlier in the series, the Dr has no problem punching a guy in the face for saying racist things to Bill, and has no reason when the workers rise up and eat the rich later in the episode, but Bill gets shot and he's like "we must be kind and save these people?" on top of being insulting and frightening, it was just odd compared to earlier in the series

i do agree that the Master & Missy had nothing to do with the plot, but i think there might end up being an effect on the Dr come Christmas; he was unsure whether Missy was double crossing him, or double crossing herself, and Now He'll Never Know if He Was Right now he doesn't know whether she tried to stop Simm and failed, or whether she ended up siding with herself and against him after all. if his big effort through the series was to bring Missy around through kindness and trust, at this point he might think he's completely failed, just as he believes he's failed Bill, and just as he thinks he's sent Nardole off to fulfill an ultimately futile mission (not that I care about Nardole, but 12 does). admittedly I am much, much more interested in seeing Missy's follow-up than the Dr's, if only because we've never seen her in this place before, but I have a feeling that even though there was no impact on the weot/tdf plot, there'll be an impact in the Christmas special

Date: 2017-07-04 01:46 am (UTC)
sabotabby: (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
I hope you're right re: Christmas special. I just can't believe they'd go to all the trouble to bringing Simm back and making such a big deal over Missy if they weren't going to be important somehow. And I want to believe that I have good narrative reasons for caring about this beyond just how much I love Missy.

I can excuse the Doctor some hypocrisy on Bill's treatment since it seemed like he was using all his energy to keep regenerating, but the writers should know better. Also there is a pattern with major characters who become Cybermen and it's an uncomfortable one?

I liked Nardole more than I thought I would but he really served no purpose and again, why did they make such a big deal of him? I don't understand.

Date: 2017-07-04 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] capalxii
I can excuse the Doctor some hypocrisy on Bill's treatment since it seemed like he was using all his energy to keep regenerating, but the writers should know better.

yeah that's the thing, from an in story perspective anything can be explained. but from the real world perspective of writers making deliberate choices, there's context that can't be divorced

Also there is a pattern with major characters who become Cybermen and it's an uncomfortable one?

lol there are so many tragic patterns on this show. idk if I have faith it'll change soon, bc the fanbase is also very white and so is the press in general, so there's like this cyclical effect you know? where it's just a lot of back patting and a relative lack of critical discussion

Date: 2017-07-04 02:06 am (UTC)
sabotabby: (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
I feel like they're trying. This season, in particular, felt like trying, and mostly succeeded. But entrenched systems are entrenched systems.

Date: 2017-07-04 02:21 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] capalxii
I don't disagree that they're, but you can only get so far when it's an all white writing team. I can't and won't give them points when they've missed, for ten years, a fundamental part of trying which is to make sure there is a seat at the table for people who aren't like them.

Date: 2017-07-04 11:46 am (UTC)
sabotabby: (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
Oh for sure. If nothing else, this series demonstrates the hard limits of well-meaning white dudes.

Date: 2017-07-03 10:32 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
I have mixed feelings about Bill and Puddle GF. Like don't companions ever just get to go home and be themselves as hard as they can anymore? But if she has to go permanently, I'm glad she got to travel with the girl she likes.

I really don't want that to be the end of Missy. I suspect some writer will bring the Master back again, but whether they'll let her keep the moral development depends on the writer.

I will miss Capaldi's eyebrows.

Date: 2017-07-03 12:09 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW blue TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
As [personal profile] nonelvis remarked about last week's episode, it's a case of colourblind writing gone horribly wrong

That was [personal profile] prof_pangaea, not me! Though I agree very much with his point.

Kevin, and because he couldn't stand the teasing, obviously

This, however, is clearly correct.

Profile

lizbee: (Default)
lizbee

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213 141516
17181920212223
24 252627282930

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 12:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios