The Zygon Invasion Review

Happy Halloween and here we are with another Doctor Who review.

Before we start let’s get this out of the way. Ya the writer of this was the writer of the jawbreaker of shit that was Kill the Moon, an episode that botched science and ethics so badly it’s incredible. Admittedly the episode does have a divided opinion amongst people, kind of making it like the Man of Steel of Doctor Who, but I figured I should state my view on the manner so that it’s clear. Despite the crappiness of the episode however I decided I wasn’t going to hold it against Peter Harness who has apparently done some pretty decent work outside of Doctor Who. Plus just because someone writes a bad story doesn’t mean they can’t bounce back with a strong entry, call it the Helen Raynor effect. And overall it looks like this could very well be the hit that Harness needed at this point even if isn’t a classic at this point.

This story is of course a follow-up to the Zygon-based events of The Day of the Doctor. A lot of people complained about the lack of conclusion in regards to that sub-plot in that story however I find that I’m cool with it since the story at that point was more about the Doctor and how the humans and the Zygons were going to get along afterwards was really besides the point. I mean the main reason they were their story-wise was to provide something for the Doctors to deal with and allow them to interact with one another, provide fan-service and also help the main story with them providing a face-changing allegory to the Doctor as well as the “cup-o-soup” solution. However, it was by no means a bad idea to have a follow-up to this story as there was obviously a lot of potential one could have to play around with such an idea as Zygons on Earth. Plus those Zygons suits can’t have been cheap so using them for another story makes sense. As a result this story’s existence was going to make a lot of people happy just on general principle.

Of course also returning is Osgood (or the Osgoods) who is overall a pretty likeable presence mainly thanks to Ingrid Oliver and definitely memorable for those fan-service outfits (which are less sexual than they may sound lol). There was some speculation that she could be a companion someday and after some thinking I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea as having a fan and a scientist travelling around with the Doc could provide an interesting perspective. Of course their was the question of how she was going to return given that Missy kind of killed her that one time. The obvious answer to that was the Zygon duplicate that could provide a way out. The episode does interestingly still manage to have that death still matter though since it is not only unclear (at this point) which version died but also that in either case it left the other Osgood kind of bummed out (which incidentally also explains why we didn’t see her in Magician’s Apprentice)

We also get the brief return of the UNIT lady that was hanging out with Kate at the beginning of The Magician’s Apprentice. Overall she was a likeable person in an oddly understated way and her return here made me appreciate it more. Unfortunately it seems that she has been killed off and I doubt the power of the fandom nor any spare Zygons are going to be able to bring her back. Kate is there as well and she is still as competent as ever. Though hopefully she’ll have more to do in the second part (cause I highly doubt that she’s dead as evil Clara seems to exist whether I saw that trailer or not). I think one of the problems with Kate so far is that we rarely get to see her do anything that isn’t related to some kind of crisis. One of the benefits of the Third Doctor era is that we managed to have the Doc and the Brig hang out in some more low-key situations which allowed us to see a different side to that relationship and the characters. Unfortunately we don’t really get to see that with Kate so far as she’s usually dealing with some crap. It might be nice to have a scene in an episode where she with or without the Doctor isn’t really up to much (or we can at least hope that her Big Finish audios will provide that).

Regardless of anything one strength of this episode is that is has a very different feel to some other recent stories. It was described as a political thriller of sorts when people were discussing the episode before the broadcast and that’s pretty apt. The darker tone in general is also a nice change of pace with a feeling of dread from the crappiness of this situation. They also resorted to that old chestnut of having creepiness surrounding children which the show is oft to do and it works fairly well. And having those Zygons convincing you to feel bad that you tried to kill them is pretty effective (even if the guy falling prey to his fake mom is a tad silly) I also liked the New Mexico setting as it was a fairly refreshing setting. Though I have to say the name of the town/city is a little silly as I doubt I’ve seen a town in the world actually have an “or” in the name (feel free to mention any if they exist) and it felt kind of forced to get that meme in there. It also seemed like some of the accents were a bit dodgy. Where’s Mark Sheppard when you need him? (probably being the King of Hell somewhere).

EDIT: Apparently T or C is an actual place. Sorry guys.

As a whole the writing was alright. Clara seemed a little off but that makes more sense given what we learn later. I have to admit to being a little confused as to how many Zygons were actually supposed to be part of this gang of evil. Also when exactly the Zygons learned who they were is also an appropriate question as well as the fact that you’d think they would have had better precautions when it came to training the young Zygons. Overall the writing isn’t bad but it also isn’t particular spectacular either, it probably didn’t help that the Doctor wasn’t exactly up to much in this one. However, things do take a turn for the awesome when it turns out that Clara was a Zygon this whole time. Sure you could kind of see it coming by the time that factoid about them not needing the hosts was brought up and not long after we cut back to Clara and UNIT lady but it was still pretty effective. It’s good to see Jenna Coleman in a villain role and it will be fun to see.

So overall this was a pretty solid first part. Not the absolute best but it did at least manage to avoid some of the major mistakes of some of recent stories this season. So we can at least give Harness a thumbs up for this one and hope that the second part is pretty good too.


The Woman Who Lived Review

Time to see what happened to Maisie in Episode 6.

This episode was written by Catherine Tregenna who hasn’t written for the series before but did actually write some of the less bad episodes of the first two Torchwood series (or at least ones with the better moments) including “Captain Jack Harkness” which is appropriate given that he gets a name drop in this episode about an immortal. Despite having a different writer this quasi-second part does manage to feel successfully like a continuation of the first for better and for worse. This includes some decent individual bits but also some tone/comedy issues and a bit of a rushed climax.

People had noted that Clara was not in any of the promotional material for this episode which led to the possibility that this episode took place after her departure. That ended up not begin the case but she did in fact not show up until that epilogue at the end which at least made the advertising more honest than Mummy on the Orient Express. It was probably for the best that she wasn’t really wasn’t a part of the story in this one since a lot of this episode runs on the dynamic between the Doctor and Maisie having Clara there would have made things troublesome. Still it was nice to see her at the end which is a testament to Jenna’s prescence that things really feel different when she finally arrives. Some have noted that this series has been really laying on thick the “Clara departure” and yah it’s kind of hard not to notice it. Whether this is necessarily a bad thing will yet to be seen though perhaps they can cut it down a bit for the next few episodes before her actual departure.

Of the two episodes so far Maisie’s character and performance was definitely better in this one. Mainly cause her character actually has a more definitive reason for why she and the episode feels like she’s special. The characterization in regards to the limited memory is interesting as well since unlike a Time Lord a human brain wouldn’t really be accustomed to having lived so many years. Also felt that the loss of her baby children was pretty sad and well delivered in the book reading. It was also nice to get some flashbacks to what she was up to in the hundred years since we last saw her to give some more scale to how long she’s been around and it gave the episode more variety than just being in the time we were. I also liked that the Doc was kind of keeping tabs on her in some portions of her life and the question of whether or not she should travel with him is an interesting one.

However in spite of all this their are some problems. This one’s a bit nitpicky but it’s pretty questionable how she managed to get her voice to change like that. I’m pretty certain that that deep voice wasn’t coming from Maisie so clearly there must have been some voice-modulating going on that is never given a clear answer. The Doctor can get away with weird tricks like being able to read a whole book in seconds or switching driver seats pretty easily since he is an alien that clearly has abilities and skills that we wouldn’t be aware of (similar to how Spock kept showing up with different quirks in ST: TOS). Despite the immortality Maisie is still human so she shouldn’t be able to pull this kind of crap out of her ass. Then their is the whole “ME” concept. I get what they were going for with the whole identity thing but referring to yourself as Me is pretty stupid. It’s just not very practical and could just lead to a bunch of Abbot and Castello-esque jokes. I’m also a bit confused about how exactly the rules of the immortality are supposed to work since the device was apparently supposed to keep healing her but apparently she can possibly be killed. It seems weird that you can Wolverine-esque healing ability but you can still apparently die some how. At least with the Doc they established at some points that a regeneration can fail or that certain substances can kill him. When you introduce immortality it would make sense to have it be all or nothing. As a whole I’m not sure this episode lived up to that time lapse at the end of the last one though the character could be a lot worse. There was also no mention of the hybrid thing which either implies we’re saving that for another time or we’ll see the true hybrid sooner or later.

The lion guy’s design was cool but unfortunately like the Fisher King he ultimately wasn’t up to much. While his defeat wasn’t as comical as that character’s it didn’t help that the solution to the doomsday plan was one of those on/off switch solutions like in The End of Time. Simplicity can be good but it does make the solutions to problems a bit too easy sometimes.

I also kind of liked the Sam Swift guy. Not all the humour with him worked but I did like his subtle fear of death among the joking around. Though I do have to wonder why we needed a “Sam Smith” joke amongst it all if in fact that’s what that was and with his name being tossed around a lot for “Spectre” the timing couldn’t be more intrusive. I doubt we’ll see him again though despite the immortality whereas with Maisie I believe the opportunity is open to see her again which wouldn’t be a bad thing since the show can always use new supporting characters to play around with ala Paternoster Gang and UNIT: The Next Generation.

The general direction was pretty good and everything looked quite nice. The comedy was OK I guess though I’m not sure it contrasted so well with the talk of Maisie’s lost babies. I did appreciate the reference to The Visitation.

Overall this was decent episode despite some flaws that hold it back. If we were to rank this as a two parter I’d say it was decent though with several problems. Not sure whether it’s worse or better than Under the Lake/Before the Flood though both of them kind of had similar levels of good and problems. At the very least we’re half way through the series and we haven’t had anything particularly bad yet. Any way see you on Halloween where we’ll get the first part of Peter Harness’ attempt to redeem himself but we’ll get to that later.

The Girl Who Died Review

Well this is probably going to be the most difficult review for me to write yet given not only that this episode probably has more prominence than some of the more recent ones but also because it’s has two writers names on it and I can’t be 100 percent certain who wrote what.

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on Mr. Moffat. The man’s name has spread throughout the fandom with love, fear and hatred (though unlike actual Gods he’ll appear at a convention every once and a while ba-dum-tis) so let me instead talk about Mr. Mathieson. This fellow has gotten some prominence recently for writing some well-regarded scripts for last series which like Frozen (2013 and not the 2010 film obviously) have been so overblown in terms of their reputation that you can’t help but kind of hate them and the people who praise them so god damn much (though thankfully their isn’t a song in the two episodes to drive you crazy). By no means were the two stories bad but when people keep considering him for show runner when the latest guy introduced his work to the world with The Empty Child you can’t help but feel a little irritated. Either way it’s safe to say that the reception to this episode was going to be vital in people’s continued fondness of him and if people don’t like it their is going to be a hell of a backlash (unless they blame Moffat’s presence in which case grr). But of course we’ll see what everyone has to say. Anyway it’s gonna be difficult to tell who wrote what in this episode and thus it’s gonna be hard to figure out who to blame for the stuff I wasn’t crazy about and who to credit for the stuff I liked.

But of course Mathieson wasn’t the only thing that got people hyped for this episode. Nope we can also blame young Maisie Williams for bringing up anticipation. Now I haven’t seen Game of Thrones like the rest of the world so I’m afraid I won’t be able to make any jokes in this review or be able to keep her reputation out of it either so we’ll see how things turn out. There was also a lot of speculation from the trailer that she was playing a prominent former character such as Susan, the Rani or anyone basically though I had figured out that she wasn’t going to be one of those given that her reaction to knowing the Doctor could more or less be explained by the fact she was in at least two episodes this season and could recognize the Doctor from the first of these. Now of course the question was thus how the Maisie’s character was going to be able to meet the Doc in these two different time periods but we’ll get more into that later.

While the opening of the episode was a bit rushed and quick I did like that it not only gave us a neat “in the middle of an adventure” opening but also that it set up some of the Doctor’s conflicts in this episode in regards to creating tidal waves throughout the universe. And it did give another chance for Jenna to don that space suit again before she leaves and in combo with that cute hair-do it’s hard to complain. Anyway they are then approached by some Vikings and the glasses haters can appreciate that one of them breaks them fairly easy in a gag.

Outside of my Mathieson problems one of the big hurdles this episode was going to have to get past for me was it’s plot. It’s basically Seven Samurai-esque which has already been done in A Bug’s Life already so they were going to have to do something cool in order for me to get past the plot’s stock nature. Unfortunately this plot is probably the weakest aspect of the episode as it doesn’t really do anything to stand out amongst the other variations out there. This may seem like an odd thing to complain about given all the other stock plots that the show has used over the years but at least in those there’s enough room to add some new spins on it whereas here you kind of need to stick to a more rigid structure.

I can at least appreciate that the Doctor didn’t want to help out due to some need not to be violent or something but rather the possibility that the success of defeating the space vikings could cause the Earth to develop a serious reputation that could endanger the population. It’s an interesting reason to not help these guys out and it provides another case of foreshadowing in this episode as a good reputation will ultimately be the key to staving the space Vikings off of getting Earth into trouble.

I suppose I should talk about the villains while I’m at it. Overall I approve of the suits the soldiers are wearing as they have a very Doctor Who-ey design, very simple but distinct. I even like the alien design as it has a creepy look too it. The main villain himself was apparently meant to be played by Brian Blessed before he was unable to fulfill the role and while he would be the type of person to play a god it was probably for the best that they didn’t get him since the main villain role is pretty throw away and doesn’t really give enough time for anyone really to gain enough of a presence. Also the whole testosterone eating thing is pretty silly and doesn’t even seem to come back anyway so they really could have come up with any explanation for these guys to be galactic dicks. Still at least the head guy choosing his face with the hologram at least introduced another bit of foreshadowing (I had some time to think about these during a car ride between writing this) as it reflected back on the whole Doctor choosing his face thing.

Speaking of that I’m not really sure what to say about that. Apparently Moffat got this concept from or approved by RTD though I have doubts about it myself. Apparently the idea is that the Doctor chose the face of the guy from the Fires of Pompeii because he thought he’d need some reminding of his capability of saving people. I guess that’s all well and good but it’s not like he couldn’t have picked anybody else. And what are we supposed to make of him taking the face of that guy from Arc of Infinity. I suppose it’s not unreasonable that the Doctor could influence what he looks like given that SFDebris has postulated that each incarnation influences the next and perhaps he learned from Romana that you can use other people’s faces no problem but this new bit of canon might take some getting used to…much like a new Doctor I suppose.

Now let’s talk about Maisie’s character cause how she’s written might have been one of my big problems here. The script keeps telling us that she’s meant to be a big deal even right from the off with the Doctor’s premonition (which may or may not tie into the prophecy though I have doubts whether the Doctor could have a hunch about that just from looking at her face) and the her whole spiel about her being different. Now obviously she did become important in the end with the whole immortality thing but before that she really shouldn’t stand out that much given that it hadn’t happened to her yet. Granted we know she’s important since she’s played by Maisie but it’s not like she should know that. I mean it’s not like modern Clara kept having hints about how special she was before she jumped into the time stream (sure the other Claras may have but they were formed afterwards).

Incidentally let’s talk about how she and Clara got up to the ship cause this felt kind of weird to me. So Clara wants to get herself unlocked from her chains and wants to use half of the glasses to do so. She could just ask for Maisie to pass them over on her head for a second since she apparently doesn’t need hands to operate them but instead she decides to explain how they work to someone who would obviously have never used them before which is gonna take a crap tonne of time and possibly endanger her since she’s using tech that could attract some serious attention. Da hell! Also for someone who is begin praised by the episode as being kind of cool you’d think Maisie would have thought twice about messing with some aliens (yah she was emotional at the time due to the deaths of her buds but if she loves the town you’d think she’d think about keeping them safe from wacky invaders).

Since I’ve been a bit negative I’d like to say that Maisie was in fact perfectly fine in the episode (and don’t think I’m saying that since I’ll get a lot of Thrones fans angry at me otherwise). Capaldi and Coleman also have to be given credit for some still very good performances. Capaldi in particular for doing well with his problems and being able to portray the full weight of them.

I also like how they used the Baby-Talk gag in a more serious way this time (though Closing Time had a few more serious scenes too) as the Doc translated the sad cries of the baby in a pretty serious fashion. Though I’m not entirely sure which part of it’s speech was supposed to convince the Doctor to stick around (or was it Clara that helped out with that).

Anyway let’s talk about how the Doc saved the day. I suppose it was inevitable that a non-violent solution was going to have to be used though it didn’t help that the solution was kind of similar to the one attempted in A Bug’s Life. I’m also not really sure how the hologram projection works since I don’t think the big helmets were the ones with the holograms (maybe the glasses caused the holograms or something but it wasn’t really explained very well). Also while the reputation thing was kind of clever as I pointed out it does make me wonder why the main Viking dude didn’t just stab the Doctor before he had a chance to upload it. I also wasn’t that crazy about the Benny Hill thing (though them having a party was kind of fun) I suppose the tone did contrast well with the following scene.

I think it’s pretty clear that this whole plot was really just a means to get us to this Maisie conclusion where she dies and it’s kind of a bummer and than the Doctor realizes he kind of pulled a Waters of Mars and saved someone at the behest of some dire consequences (though at least this time the consequences are more immediate and apparent rather than the more personality driven consequences of Tennant’s story). I’m also not sure whether I approve of all the classic series quoting once the Doctor got into the TARDIS (immortal barring accidents, time will tell it always does, and I guess the ripples thing is a take from McCoy’s speech in Remembrance of the Daleks). Also credit must be given to more foreshadowing (I wonder if I can get a free soda if I use “foreshadowing” enough times) as I recall they mentioned immortality or something prior to the ending.

The ending in general was pretty effective with the Doctor realizing he had created a hybrid that could very well be the one from the prophecy Davros was talking about (him mentioning that was one of those cool “ooooohh” moments you get when you put two and two together). Also while it was pretty obvious that the Maisie 360 was going to end with her being less happy it was still pretty cool to see her pissed off with stuff blowing up in the background.

So overall this was an alright episode with a meh plot but with some pretty decent moments while setting up something that will have consequences for the next episode and possibly the rest of the series. Overall I’m pretty interested to see the fate of Immortal Maisie in the next episode and hopefully the readers will check out my review of it then.


Before the Flood Review

I make no qualms that I wasn’t as big a fan of the previous episode as some people were, even though I can’t say it was bad. But even I felt kind of let down by this.

Let us start at the beginning. It seems that Toby Whithouse decided to do another Listen style fourth-wall break where the Doctor talks about something to the audience while also kind of talking to himself. However it wasn’t as effective for a few reasons. One, in Listen we knew that that monologue took place before the events of the story given that LISTEN  was written on the board whereas here we have no clue whether it’s meant to take place before or after the events of this episode, though more likely after. Another is that the Doctor was postulating that there could have been a creature hanging around the TARDIS with him so there’s a bit more reason for him to talk out loud whereas here we have nothing. It also doesn’t quite have the intensity that the previous scene did but I guess that’s going to be the case when this is the second time this scene has been done. With that being said it had some amusing moments, it was cool to notice Magpie on the amp and having the guitar playing with the theme music was pretty cool. And give credit where it’s due that the paradox is an interesting one to ponder on..though I’m not really sure this episode should have necessarily been focusing on that.

One reason why this episode isn’t as effective as the previous week is that that was focused in that one location whereas here we also spend time in the Cold War village. The set is nice and there are some cool shots to be had but being there loses some of the claustrophobia of the first part. Also it seemed pretty pointless for it to be set during the Cold War period except to have all the neat propaganda posters. I wouldn’t mind having a story actually set in Soviet Russia properly cause that story would write you (cricket chirps).

The ghosts also don’t have the screen time they did earlier so they don’t have as much presence as they did in the first part. Also while in theory it seemed kind of neat to meet the ghost of rat-looking dude they made him waaaaaaay more bufoonish than the David Walliams one and not to mention seemed to give his dialogue some needlessly kinky subtext. Overall it took a lot of the menace out of his ghostly version. I also have to question why the scarf-lady’s ghost only showed up right after we saw her die. It’s not like with the Doctor’s hologram where he could have been programmed to avoid an early encounter and thus a paradox. I guess that is one of those narrative problems that time travel gives us (I could have said something similar about the order of the deaths from the Capaldi hologram but given that the Doctor programmed it I’ll give it a slight pass, even though you’d think the ones that died in the past would go first).

But boy did they screw over the Fisher King. I mean the build-up to him was pretty good and the design and voice are top-notch but basically he got easily tricked by the Doctor in one scene  and then comically died. What a waste. Though between his talk of the Time Lords as warriors, Davros’ warrior prophecy and the mention of warrior races in the next time trailer I think we’ve officially stumbled on a theme.

While the side-characters had some decent moments here and the acting is still solid they didn’t get as many as last time and there was just some stupid crap that kept undermining them.  There’s the kind of contrived death of the scarf fan lady (at this point she’s basically Osgood-lite) by setting up that she didn’t want to stay and then she died with the other dude basically having a bitch-fit about it (fair enough he lost his love apparently but I don’t think we can really blame the Doc that much for this one). But even worse is the deaf-lady freaking out over her interpreter leaving. Ok so they finally found out that he is safe because he didn’t look at the words (which was kind of obvious but whatever) and so Clara wants him to go out and get the phone. So even though he’s basically more or less insured not to get hunted down by the ghosts it’s now that deaf-lady decides to freak out and even condemn Clara for being uncaring. What the hell? It’s not like he wanted to use him as bait he would have been perfectly fine. Sure there was the coffin-thing but it’s not like they knew that was going to happen or that it could have contained any danger. It just came across as some contrived bullcrap. Not to mention that old-cliche of having a person tell another person to finally confess their feelings to somebody. It’s a shame cause the having a cool deaf-lady character would have been nice and they really messed up here. That being said I thought the sound editing when she was being chased by the ghosts was pretty cool as was the bit where she used the vibrations to detect it and everything went Daredevil vision.

All right so let’s talk about the whole Doctor-death crap. Why does he think he’s screwed? This is the third time in recent memory (Revelation of the Daleks had an example too but let’s keep the complaining to a minimum) where the Doctor had a hint of his own death happening, thought it was unavoidable and then got out of it. I mean I probably show some concern too if I saw my ghost but for a man whose seen this kind of thing before he probably shouldn’t be making a big a thing about it at this point. I mean with Silencio it turned out to be a fake and with Trenzalore he managed to alter the timeline so that it didn’t happened so why was it so unreasonable to him that one of those things could have happened.  I mean it made more sense in Magician’s Apprenctice even since that was more about him possibly getting killed and not him seeing a premonition. I’m also not sure why the dialogue seemed to make it sound like Clara hadn’t accepted the death of a loved one before given Danny Pink and her own mother dying (granted that’s slight nitpicking but I figured it was worth mentioning). As for him being in the stasis chamber I suppose that was a reasonable way for him to survive though I should note that quite a few people on the AV Club predicted that last week. As for the hologram thing while it is kind of a disappointment at the very least they set it up the week before. Not sure why but the Teselecta being the Doctor in Series 6 seemed less let-downy by comparison (this is putting aside all the character arc crap by the way that’s a whole other discussion). It’s also a shame that we didn’t get to see most ghost-Capaldi since it looked pretty cool in the next-time trailer and probably would have scared some people.

So overall this was a slightly above average two-parter. Granted Magician/Witch also had some flaws but it had more stuff I liked in it. The latter had less stuff I liked and more flaws so unfortunately that adds up to being a lesser story for me. See you next week.

Under the Lake Review

Time for episode 3 written by Toby Whithouse. His Who career has been a bit of a mixed bad ranging from the great School Reunion to the problematic A Town Called Mercy (you don’t waste Ben Browder damn it!). As a whole this first part is probably on the quality level of The God Complex pretty good if a little problematic.

Before we do anything we got to discuss the sonic sunglasses. People have lost their shit over this so I guess I should say a few words. Now when I first heard rumours of this change occurring I dismissed it as a silly rumour but there they are in the show now. However I was willing to give them a chance since shaking things up isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Overall they weren’t too bad here as they were able to be used in a Girl Who Waited fashion to give the crew Doctor vision. I also think they look pretty styling on Capaldi. However I think it would have been nice if the glasses had some indication that they were a bit sonic outside of the sound effects. Maybe a light effect or some form of movement just something to give it a unique quality.

While I have to say I really liked the image of the symbols on the eye it may have been a mistake to show them so prominently in the first part. I mean by the time the Doc and Clara got to them it was pretty obvious that they would be the source of the evil and the fact that that one guy was allowed to live pretty much confirmed it.

The rich douche guy wasn’t exactly a strong part of this episode. I mean we already had Silence in the Library to turn that trope on it’s head by having the guy turn out to be sympathetic and even The Voyage of the Damned’s douche was at least kind of clever as Diamanda Hagan pointed out and worked into that whole “choose to live” question at the end. Here the guy is just a douche and that’s about it. He dies and you wonder why he really needed to be there except to delay everybody from getting out. Though him picking up the business card after the Doc threw it away was amusing.

I appreciate that they had a deaf woman in there to get in some diversity even if she’s not exactly a Joey Lucas. Granted I have doubts about whether they would still be using the traditional translator model in the 22nd century as I’d think deafness would be an easier problem to bypass technologically than Geordi LaForge’s vision. Though her delayed reaction to the Doc’s card reading was fun (no offence to the deaf for any of this).

Some of the humour in this was hit in miss. Wasn’t really crazy about the banter between the crew and that between the Doc and Clara in the beginning. Also don’t think that bit with the cards was as funny as it was trying to be. Though there were some amusing bits like the TARDIS problem anti-climax and the bit where the ghost was gonna beat them up with a chair.

I got to admit some of the stuff with the ghosts was kind of confusing though it’s possible that I missed out some information so do tell me if I did. How come the ghosts were apparently not supposed to get through the metal door that the Doc trapped them in? Did they switch it to day time mode or something? Also did that button that one ghost press count as a metal object? I’m also wondering what exactly was stopping them from doing stuff in daytime mode. Apparently they were being observed or recorded in some way but would that necessarily stop them from what they were doing and why would they think that this information would stop them transmitting their message. Incidentally that coordinate system seemed pretty convoluted. Also it seemed a bit too easy for the Doc to accept the ghost thing considering how long it took him to accept the Devil years ago. Character development or inconsistency, you decide! Also are they still meant to be ghosts in spite of the alien influence. They did say it was not a natural phenomenon so I guess we can put it under those artificial after-lifes like in Dark Water.

EDIT: Apparently they got the idea to trap them in the Faraday chamber since the ghosts were avoiding it for the 3 days they were there and putting them on the other side seemed to be a logical conclusion.

Still the cliffhanger was pretty good as you want to find out what’s in the box, Clara and friends are in danger and oh look a Doctor ghost. I originally thought they had given out the outcome of this in the guide where the Doctor discovers his face but apparently that’s not until episode 5. As a result I’m interested to see where this goes. It’s also nice to have a connected story where it takes place in a time earlier from where they are now, Revenge of the Cybermen style.

Oh and the sets and ghost design were pretty cool.

Overall this was alright but hopefully the second part will raise the overall quality.

EDIT: One thing I neglected to mention was that “kiss it to death” speech the Doctor gives here that was in the trailer. In the trailer it sounded cool and I was interested to know the context of it. Unfortunately the episode doesn’t really provide it enough. I mean he discovers that box and then just goes into the speech. I mean is he talking about adventure, mystery what? I mean it still sounds cool on it’s own but we needed to be more clear about what he was talking about for it to really work. It was fine in the trailer since it had some atmosphere but here it doesn’t I’m afraid.