[personal profile] fardell24

Doctor Who 10.01 'The Pilot' Review
The first episode of Series 10. It is an interesting beginning to the new series. It certainly makes me wonder what is going to happen. There are many aspects to the episode that give rise to questions. Questions about what the Doctor has been doing since he had saved New York from Harmony Shoal. Also questions about what makes Bill special, compared to others he had met at the university while he was there. More than 50 years seems to be a long time for him to be in one place, but more on that later.
Nardole isn't much expanded upon, but it is obvious that his body (at least) is mechanical (mechanical enough for parts to fall out of his arm). He is assisting the Doctor with whatever that vault is containing. (Gallifreyian writing is visible on the outside, so something to do with the Time Lords? Is the Doctor's promise to a Time Lord?) In a related note (maybe) the Doctor is seen talking to pictures of River and Susan (Was she lost in the Time War? Would she appear at a later point in the series)
The Doctor seems to be restless in his position, seeming to stay in the one place out of obligation. He is quite eager to leap into the adventure when the liquid spaceship Heather is chasing Bill. (I'm not sure what to make of the Bill/Heather relationship, or the progress it had made before Heather is possessed.) The handling of the situation when the Doctor wanted to wipe Bill's memory is better than when it was Clara on the end of it. (and definitely when it was Donna!) The Doctor's change of mind was quite quick.
Unless it is a future Doctor, which would be interesting in of itself. (Would present!Doctor investigate Bill's vanishing?) The Dalek cameo was handled quite well.The fate of Heather is interesting, and Bill's reaction to it is well handled. I recommend seeing this episode. 9/10.


Doctor Who 10.02 'Smile Review:
The second episode of Series 10, following straight from the end of the previous episode (much like, The End of the World from Rose...) The start is interesting, proving that it isn't a future Doctor, but the mystery of what is in the Vault deepens. What is it that Nardole has to remind him that he is no longer allowed to go off planet? (He also only appears in this scene, clearly not a traditional 'companion'.) Bill's questions regarding how the Doctor drives (or negotiates with) the TARDIS normally are quite well done.
The introduction to the colony planet and the Vardy robots is also quite well done, but there are issues with the excution. I'm not certain how. Is it the writing? (Maybe, but I liked it more than In the Forest of the Night.) Bill is a great character, her interactions with the emoji-bots, and reaction to what happened to the set-up crew, are quite believeable. The way she ignores the Doctor's instruction to stay in the TARDIS after they escape the first time, shows that she is inquisitive, and wants to help the Doctor with what he's doing.
The episode shows that the Doctor is quite fallible (for instance, that he doesn't realise that the ship is a sleeper ship, until Bill alerts him to that fact, although she doesn't fully grasp the significance until he tells her about it.) While finding out about what went wrong with the Vardy's (or Vardies?) is interesting, the resolution seems off. (Surely, it would be better if the Doctor re-programmed the Vardy's so that the deadly error wouldn't crop up again? As soon as someone else dies, or the boy is obviously greiving...) While the concepts are interesting, I have seen them done better in other media.
So, while it is still watchable (and re-watchable), I'm not recommending it that well. The lead-in the to the third episode is more interesting than that resolution. I'm looking forward to see how Bill will react to being in the past, and what that threat under the ice is. To re-interate, not that well recommended. 7/10.


Doctor Who 10.03 'Thin Ice' Review
The third episode of Series 10, following on from the end of the previous episode. (Are all the episodes going to do this this series? With next starting from the scene at the Vault? See below.) The episode is set at the Last Great Frost Fair, held in London in 1814, on the frozen Thame, where there is more to the Fair than what it appears to be.After the Doctor and Bill arrive, the Doctor tries to get back to the university, but the TARDIS isn't letting him. 'Always looking for trouble,' is a perfect description of the TARDIS's behaviour.
Of course, the Doctor and Bill don't stick around long enough to see the 'monster fish' on the scanner, but the story would have proceded quite differently if they had. In any case, the urchins at the Fair are quite well realised, albeit cleaner than they would have been in reality. But the real character development is Bill's. She seems to be horrified that the Doctor doesn't know how many dead bodies he had seen, and wonders what sort of man he is. It is the death of one of the urchins that spurs the Doctor, and Bill, into action. This leads to the discovery of the monster fish
The sound effects of that creature were done quite well, making Bill's comment about it's despair quite impactful emotionally. The following investigation of Lord Sutcliff's operation is also quite well done. The way the Doctor counsells Bill about being rational, but reacting impulsively anyway to Sutcliff's racism towards her is quite well written. Capaldi and Mackie (and Burns) acted quite well here.The Doctor's following speech about the measure of Civilisation being how fellow man is treated, rather than progress, is very well written.
This episode is better than the previous episode (the society of the time is represented accurately, racism and all). I definitely recommend seeing it. The end scenes, back at the university are good too. Bill learns that extraordinary events in the past, don't necessarily have an impact on the present, and we learn some more (albeit not much) about what is in the vault. Someone capable of knocking. 9/10.


Doctor Who 10.04 'Knock Knock' Review
The fourth episode of series 10, about Bill and several friends moving into a strange house. David Suchet sells it as The Landlord. He helped to make it a better episode than it could have been. However the episode is mostly about how Bill and her friends react to the predicament they find themselves in, and how they respond to the Doctor's help. With a large number of characters it is sometimes difficult to keep track. Some are developed more than others, but most of them do have a role to play.
Bill does panic almost as much as her friend, Shireen. But she takes the initiative to investigate the house. Her annoyance with the Doctor insisting he stay, is well done. Her calling him 'Grandfather' though, is that a link to Susan? Once the house starts doing it's thing, Shireen is incredulous at first, but does follow Bill's lead, thus allowing her to survive until the confrontation with the Landlord. It seems that she's interested in Paul, but that's not developed much. Harry gets trapped with the Doctor, in the loungeroom/kitchen.He too is incredulous about what is happening with the house, but follows the Doctor's lead once they are sealed in.
There isn't much development for Felicity, other than that she may be a clustrophobe. She panics, saying that 'I can't get trapped!' I'm uncertain whether the depiction is accurate. There isn't much more she does. Pavel does even less, simply being trapped by the house/'dryads'/alien woodlice. Paul 'comes on' to Bill (being shot down by her, given her orientation), he also is a practical joker (with Bill and Shireen falling for it). There is also the Landlord, and the secret he has been concealing.
The reveal, about the Landlord and his daughter (who actually turns out to be his mother) is quite well done. However the 'everyone lives' moment seems anticlimatic. But the ongoing storyline is continued quite well with the Doctor's interaction with the person in the vault. (It may be obvious who it is, but I'm prepared to be surprised.) The above caveats aside I would recommend this episode alongside those previous in this series. 8/10.


Doctor Who 10.05 'Oxygen' Review
The fifth episode of series 10, where the Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive at a space station in response to a distress call. There is more going on at the Station than it appears. The intro to the episode does a really good job of setting up the situation, with the Doctor's riffing of the Star Trek intro ('Space, the final frontier. It's final, because it wants to kill you!') and the fate of various characters at the station. The visual design of the station is impressive also, like a much smaller Deep Space Nine.
Each main character is impressive, and undergoes changes in this story. The Doctor's problems get a lot worse. It leaves me wondering how this development would affect his efficacy in the future episodes. Nevertheless, he leads the investigation into the problem on the station in his usual manner, despite Nardole's objections. Although I'm not sure why he would be hiding the problem he gains from Bill at the end. Talking about Bill, she continues to be an interesting character, seemingly supporting the Doctor against Nardole at the beginning.
The way she reacts to the threats are quite believable, anyone would panic at having to go into space with limited are (more on the air situation below). She is also quite shocked at the fact that people had died. Nardole is much the same as before. It is revealed that he is following the Doctor's orders, to stop going off when that Vault needs defending (and whoever it is would know that the Doctor is injured, and given the nature of the Doctor's injury... Uh oh!). However, when problems amount, he is quite helpful in the situation.
That the Doctor is able to 'negotiate' with the TARDIS despite his injury is interesting. But there is the elephant in the room, or rather the Megacorporation that owns the station. Is the story anti-capitalist? That is a high possibility. However, workers deemed expendible is plausible given many historical precedents. Charging for air seems to be an efficient way of doing this. This is a good story despite any caveats above, albeit not as good as any anti-capitalist tales in the classic era (Capaldi doesn't quite match Baker), but still quite well recommended.
8.5/10.


Doctor Who 10.06 'Extremis' Review
The sixth episode of series 10. It is also the first part of a three part story. The Vatican calls the Doctor to come and investigate a mysterious book in their forbidden library, bringing Bill and Nardole along for the ride. That is just the start of their trouble. The blindness which the Doctor had been inflicted by in the previous episode, plays a major role here. The way he navigates with the sonic specs is well done. (my guess, the Specs induce synesthesia to produce a visual field for the Doctor. May, or may not, work only with a Time Lord brain.)
The device from the TARDIS he uses to temporarily regain vision is interesting too (borrowing from his future self? An interesting notion!). His relationship to a previous Pope is an interesting addition to the show's story also. Bill and Nardole play off well against each other. Her characterisation builds upon that established in the previous episodes. She is annoyed when the Doctor interrupts her date via materialising the TARDIS in her bedroom with the Pope (and Cardinals) in tow.
She is incredulous about what the central mystery of the episode entails even after Nardole vanishes (and the previous weirdness at CERN.) And that leads into the central plot of the episode The mystery of the book has an unexpected solution. That is, that most of the episode takes place in a simulation. Some aliens had been running the simulation as a way to predict how the Earth (and any visitors, including the Doctor) would react. It is also a great demonstation of the fact that computers don't produce truly random numbers.
Then there's the other plot. It is Missy in the Vault! (Not really surprising.) The concept of a planet of executioners is interesting (in the Chinese sense. How would a civilisation get that way?) One wonders how they would enforce the oath that the Doctor took. (Other than via Nardole?) Missy's comment about the Daleks knowing about the Doctor's 24 year sojourn on Darillium with River (although she isn't named) is also intreaging.At the end, the real Doctor finds out (via the Sim-Doctor sending a message somehow).
I certainly recommend watching it. 8.5/10.


Doctor Who 10.07 'The Pyramid at the End of the World' Review
The seventh episode of Series 10 and the second in the 'monk trilogy'. An interesting installment. What the Monk aliens want with the Earth isn't revealed (other than that they want to rule it). It also isn't revealed why they need 'consent' to rule the Earth. However, the real 'meat' of the story is with the character interactions (as it should be). (Was the Doctor going to tell Bill about his blindness?) Especially with Bill telling Penny about what had occurred (sort of) in the previous episode. Is that going to lead anywhere?
But I digress. The Doctor is mostly his usual self, even though he is moping in the TARDIS. (The song he is singing when the TARDIS is on the plane is quite downbeat.) However, he is certainly desperate to stop the plan of the Monk aliens, doing what he does best, trying to think of a solution to the situation, right down to the last moments in the lab with Erica. It's not his failure that leads to the cliffhanger ending... Rather it's down to Bill, and her not willing that the Doctor be caught in an explosion.
She;'s willing to sacrifice the planet to save the Doctor. (a good motive, but certainly the wrong group to make such a sacrifice to!) However, this is consistent with what we have seen in the previous episodes. Nardole is his helpful self, there is not much to say here. However, there is Erica, the (little in stature, but not in personality) microbiologist. The establishing moments for her were a rather good setup for her role in the rest of the story. She's willing to help the Doctor in preventing the bacteria from spreading.
(Of course she would be.) However, introducing the Secretary General the same way as the Pope was in the previous episode seems an interesting choice. Is this going to be a running gag, Penny meeting Bill in her flat, and some unexpected, but important person suddenly appears? I'm not sure how many repetitions could be sustained. (If each time is different enough, sure...) The American, Russian and Chinese generals are used quite well. The aliens cencept of consent... I'm not sure what to make of it (Sec-Gen's fear and the Generals' strategy not accepted.)
Even with the identified caveats, I recommend this episode as a good example of Doctor Who. 9/10.


Doctor Who 10.08 'The Lie of the Land' Review
The eighth episode of series 10 and the conclusion of the 'Monks trilogy'. A little bit of 'hit and miss', quite a lot of 'telling' and not a lot of show. However there are still many parts that were good. The introduction sequence for instance, showing that the Monks have set up a totalitarian regeime by rewriting history, was quite well done, as was Bill's method of holding onto the truth, via talking to her Mum as an imaginary friend. Still, a thought was 'the weirdest episode of Doctor Who ever', but that's not true.
There is certainly more than a passing similarity to another New Who story involving the Master, but more on that later. The meeting (after the six months that have passed since the previous story) between Bill and Nardole was done quite well, as was their finding the Doctor by tracing the broadcasts. It was appropriately tense (as with the scene where there is an identity paper spot check). That was resolved very well. If only the episode overall was resolved as well, but more on that later.
The scenes where the Doctor was pretending to be collaborating with the Monks were genuinely tense, the way he was testing Bill was quite genuine. (Capaldi did this really well.) However, I don't think Bill needed to shoot him in that way. A fake out regeneration wasn't really necessary. The scene was tense enough without it. But what was well done, was what followed, with Missy in the Vault. (This does add to the 'telling' problem, but the information Missy gives helps to save the Earth from the Monks.)
There is a parallel between the Monk's memory alteration field (whatever it's called) and the Archangel Network in The Sound of Drums. (Of course, Missy doesn't show the compassion). That said, the scene where the Doctor and the others enter the Pyramid (which is in London for some reason) is quite tense. However the way Bill saves the Earth with the memories of her mother, seems anticlimatic and a cheat. And that the situation seems to have reset via the Monk's self-erasure.
That too seems to be a cheat. Recommendation? Is it the worst episode ever? No that goes to some stinkers in the Classic series. It's not as bad as some from Series 8 either. 7/10.


Monks Trilogy overall review
The 'Monk's Trilogy is interesting as an exercise in science fiction, and as a Doctor Who story, but does it hold up to the first five entries so far in Series 10? As the first part, does Extremis introduce the threat that the Monks pose in an effective manner? It is a good introduction to Missy's situation. The plot thread introduced here does get a good continuation in The Lie of the Land. The fact that the Monks use simulation as a method of assessing their potential victims, and that they gather enough information for those simulations certainly indicates that they are a significant threat,
But do the elements introduced in Extremis carry through to The Pyramid at the End of the World effectively. The Doctor knows that they are coming, certainly. But does he use the information that was sent from the sim-Doctor effectively? Or as if he was going into the situation without any information on the Monks at all? The answer; the former. In my opinion, the situation in Termezistan would have played out differently if he hadn't received that message. But it's difficult to tell how different,
Bill and Penny. Their reactions in Extremis and The Pyramid at the End of the World, to the Pope and the Secretary General respectively, do have some differences, probably to the Doctor telling Bill about the simulation. However, do the characters of the Secretary General, the three generals and Erica (latter whom is the only survivor out of them) contribute to the overall trilogy? Erica doesn't appear in the next episode (should she have). To answer, their role is minor, but Erica could appear again later in the series.
But does The Lie of the Land make a good conclusion? I'm not sure, given the nature of how the Monks are defeated. The motivation behind their regieme wasn't satisfactorily explained. About why they needed love based 'consent' or to manipulate the historical record. If not for the story elements involving Missy, I'm not sure it works. That story thread, involving Missy is more fulfilling than that involving the Monks. So it does work, but only barely. The Black Guardian Trilogy (Maudryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment) works a lot better.
(But then, one could consider Davison 'my Doctor'), there was much better plotting in the Classic series than here. And RTD did better with the trilogy that concluded Series 3. So overall it's underwhelming. 8.166/10.


Doctor Who 10.09 'Empress of Mars' Review
A very good episode. One of Gatiss' best. The NASA scene while it does introduce the situation, seems a little unnecessary, although it is as good as the rest of the story. It just seems to be a little superfluous. The arrival on Mars is well done, although it's not clear why the TARDIS left when Nardole went back aboard. The early explorations by the Doctor and Bill of the Martian tunnels were done quite well also. And the confrontation between the Doctor and Friday was well choreographed.
The explanation of how the British troops got into the situation they are in, is believable. That they found the Ice Warrior they named after the Defoe character in a ship on the veldt in South Africa and then helped him repair it. (And then lured them to Mars with promises of riches in the form of gemstomes, or gold.) That's an excellent set up to the situation, and leads into the discovery of the Empress' tomb/hibernation chamber. Each of the soldiers is given a unique personality, but more on that later.
In any case, the Empress is quite well realised, being in shock at the interlopers, the length of time spent in the hibernation, and the state of the surface. Godsacre's backstory is interesting. That he was caught for desertion, and was unscuccessfully hung for it. (There are questions about how he would be able to rejoin the Army after that, but those would detract from below.) In any case, that leads him to be able to work out a deal with the Empress, despite an attempt by his second to gain control.
The resolution that is worked out is quite believable (they wouldn't get back to Earth in any case). The appearance of Alpha Centauri is just icing on the cake (although I yet hadn't seen the Peladon serials). The conclusion with Missy being in the TARDIS, is interesting. There may be more to Missy's question about the Doctor's well being than his concern about her being out of the Vault. Overall this is a very good episode. 9/10.


Doctor Who 10.10 'The Eaters of Light' Review
The Tenth episode of series 10, written by Rona Monroe. (A note that there won't be Survival comparisons here.) The bookends, with the young 21st (?) century lass at the ruins of the cairn, is an interesting plot device. The beginning effectively sets the scene, that there is something on the Moor that the Doctor had been involved in. (The stone image of the TARDIS along the Pictish monster, is very good in this regard.) A very good lead in (more about the concluding scene below.) The TARDIS crew's arrival is quite good also.
The dialogue about the crows speaking, and being in a huff is a little 'on the nose' but it does lead to a satisfying plot development towards the end of the episode, so that's easily forgiven. But what is more interesting, is Bill's interest in the IXth Legion. It is an effective way of setting up her role in the story. (The less said about her explaining her orientation to the Romans the better.) The Doctor and Nardole meeting the Picts is a lot better. The Picts come across better than the Romans as characters here.
(Romans are done better in The Fires of Pompeii.) The Picts' resentment at what the Romans have done to them and their land is quite well articulated. (Rebecca Benson did a very good job as Kar here.) The nature of the monsters ('Light eating locusts' as the Doctor puts it), is a very good idea for an antagonist, but I'm not sure that the resulting CGI is 100% effective. But that is a minor quibble, that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the episode. Back to the characters: Kar. She's quite remorseful for her mistake in using one of the creatures against the IXth Legion.
(And thus the threat to the universe, see below.) When the Romans and Picts come to gether, the Doctor and Bill have to help them 'bury the hatchet' in order to focus on the problem that the 'light eating locusts' pose. Bill talking about the TARDIS's translation of the languages (English, Latin, Pictish...) helps to resolve the tension, but the Doctor's speech on the threat the creatures pose (that they would eat all the light sources in the universe) is what gets them to reconcile. Then the manner of fighting the creatures makes a good resolution.
(Another reference to Regeneration...) Kar and the remaining soldiers of the IXth sacrificing themselves to fight the creatures (rather than the Doctor) is a satisfying resolution to this story. The fact that the crows are remembering Kar, rather than being in a huff, contributes to that satisfaction. The scene with Missy, where it's revealed that she was maintaining the TARDIS, is just icing on the cake. I would recommend it to anyone to watch. 9/10.


Doctor Who 10.11 'World Enough and Time' Review
The 11th episode of Series 10, and the first part of the two part finale. A very interesting episode with a lot of suspense. The pre-titles scene, with the Doctor starting to regenerate certainly adds to that suspense. However, the tale is in the journey, and so that journey starts on this 400 mile long colony ship falling into a black hole. With a twist, Missy pretending to be the Doctor. I'm not sure what to make of her saying 'Doctor Who', but otherwise it was well done. The way she introduces Bill and Nardole was interesting also.
But what really sets up the events of the episode is what happens to Bill. After some things start coming up the elevator (turbolift?) the pilot (who turns out to be the janitor) starts getting very anxious. The slow reveal of what they are is quite effective. But the result of this scene, Bill being shot is the impetus that drives the plot. The flashback, after she is shot, intercutting with her falling, was quite effective. Bill trying to get a promise from the Doctor that she wouldn't get killed, but not really getting one, also adds to the suspense.
The Doctor's “Wait for me,” to Bill is a good line, and it also leads to some resolution at the end of the episode (more on that later). Bill then waking up and exploring the Hospital. This scene is quite atmospheric and creepy. Very suspenseful. She seems to know that there is something not right about the patients. She soon meets Mr. Razor, who is more than he appears (see below), and the Matron).And so she discovers the other end of the ship, and that time is passing much faster there than at the top of the ship.
Of course, it takes time for the Doctor to explain the time dilation to Jorj (Missy and Nardole already have an idea of what is going on). The intercutting, showing time passing for Bill (and Mr. Razor) while the Doctor is explaining what is going on, was rather well done. The scenes outside the hospital, where Razor explains what is going on, that the society is dying and want to change to be strong, were good, both as exposition and as forshadowing for what was to come. The Doctor's explanation of the time dilation was good also.
Of course, it comes down to the last few minutes. And what a last few minutes! A lot is revealed in those few minutes. Bill's betrayal by Mr. Razor was really well done. I didn't expect him to be the Saxon incarnation of the Master in disguise! (I thought he would appear in some other way.) The reveals of Missy discovering that the ship was from Mondas and the Doctor recognising a patient as a Cyberman from that planet were very well done. But the wham at the end come from the reveal that the Cyberman is Bill!
That, and that Missy seems to team up with her past self and CyberBill's line “I waited for you!” combine to make a rather shocklingly great cliffhanger. 9.5/10.


Doctor Who 10.12 'The Doctor Falls' Review
The 12th and final episode of Series 10, and the second half of the series finale. It is certainly an interesting (if a little confronting in parts, see below, regarding Bill) episode. Is it a good episode? A good finale? To begin with, the sequence on the roof of the hospital was rather good, with the two incarnations of the Master trying to interrogate the Doctor, only to find that the Doctor had one-upped them, by altering the parameters for the Cybermen. It makes for a very tense scene. The Doctor being atttacked by a Cyberman only makes it more so.
The introduction to the farming society on Floor 507 was good also. It helped to get a feel for the characters as it were. However it also leads to the most confronting part of the episode. Bill and the effect of what was done to her on her mind (or the lack thereof). Her perplexity at seeing the reflection of a Cyberman in the mirror was done quite well, as was the following discussion with the Doctor regarding what she had become. It was very moving, almost enough to move one to tears.
The young girl is certainly moved to tears by her. That interaction helps to set up the interaction with the Doctor as noted above. However, there is more to the episode than Bill's problem. There is also the two incarnations of the Master, and how they interact with each other. (Gomez and Simm certainly work well together.) They both help the Doctor find the lifts, but Saxon Master is more likely to follow the beat of his own drum (even if the literal drumming had been removed). The planning for the Cybermen attack (what there is of it), is done well.
Of course, the Masters don't stick around for the actual attack, but the final scene where the two Masters kill each other (although Missy is surprised) is done very well. That Missy would induce the regeneration of her previous self to punish him for running away is believable, as is Saxon Master killing his future self! The Doctor's line to them that it's not about being a hero, but rather about being kind, is a very good line. It certainly suits the Doctor, not just this Doctor, but also the Doctor overall.
There is the contrast between the Doctor and Nardole in the heat of the moment. That Nardole is stronger than the Doctor, seems a bit much, but it's a good send off for that character (even if his situation and that of the children he leads to floor 502 is unresolved). The battle between the Doctor and the Cybermen is well choreographed. But the main resolution involves an unexpected element. Heather! This isn't as much as a cop out as it might seem, given the set up in the first episode, but more on that in the overall series review. Bill gets a good ending (and she may come back.)
Far more interesting is that the Doctor is refusing to regenerate. That is certainly an interesting development. The First Doctor appearing makes for a rather good hook for the Christmas special. Overall a well written, if flawed episode. 8.5/10.


Series Finale Two Part review
The season finale, both as an example of science fiction, and as a Doctor Who story works, better than the 'Monks Trilogy'. There are many elements common to both stories within this finale. Overall themes, and character development. For instance, desperation, and the efforts that both individuals and societies go to as a result of that emotion. For instance, the descendents of the Mondasian human crewmembers on Floor 1056 eventually upgrading themselves into Cybermen, and Jorj's reaction to Bill's presence on the Bridge.
This also extends to the inhabitants of Floor 507, as they do what they must against the proto-Cybermen that were coming for their children. It also extends to the Doctor, as he tries to come up with a plan that would stop the Cybermen, and is later desperate to stop the inevitable regeneration. And the Saxon Master is also desperate to stop his future self from becoming good. Bill also is desperate to hold onto her identity despite what happens to her. All of this desperation is very well presented.
There certainly isn't an overload of it, and it obviously isn't the only emotion present. There's also fear. Fear of the Cybermen. Fear of regeneration, fear of what one has become. Anger: Bill's presentation of this was well done. And last but not least, hope. A misplaced hope on the part of the society on Floor 1056, but also the hope that Nardole and the kids from 507 would survive on Floor 502. On to the characters, specifically to the two incarnations of the Master. Missy continued redemption was done very well.
But the more interesting characterisation is that of the Saxon Master. It is consistent with how he was portrayed in Series 3. The way he manipulated the Mondasian society and Bill is reminicent of how he manipulated Britain and the Doctor, Captain Jack and Martha in that previous storyline. His role as Mr. Razor was subtely offputting. In fact the name could be seen as a hint. It's very close to Saxon. The Master must like these two syllable pseudonyms... In any case, Simm did a very good job in both episodes.
The Doctor's development was also done well, even if the development of him not wanting to regenerate seems to come out of nowhere. Him wanting Missy to be good continues and he wants both Masters to help against the Cybermen. That part was done well, as was his reaction to what happened to Bill. Bill's experience was developed well across the episodes. Her reaction to the hospital and the patients therin, is reflected with her reaction to what she had become. More directly, her waking in the barn is like the previous waking in the hospital.
There is not much to say about Nardole's role in the episode that hadn't been said earlier. However, what happens to Jorj isn't stated. (Other than him possibly waking up and then seeing the TARDIS dematerialise as Heather flies it away...) Overall this is an effective conclusion to the series. 9/10.


Overall Series Review
Overall Series 10 was a very good series of stories about the Doctor and the changing circumstances that his meeting with Bill Potts brings about. It isn't a simple story (or series of stories), but there are many repeating themes. And then there are the bookends. As an example, Heather's becoming the Pilot is one of the main plots of the first episode, and she appears to rescue Bill and the Doctor after the defeat of the Cybermen on Floor 507. Her appearance in the latter episode may seem to come out of thin air, but it is set up in the first.
One of these themes is memories... Bill's memories in particular play an important part in various episodes. The Doctor gives her a photo of her mother, and it is that memory of her mother that allows her to defeat the Monks (even if that plot thread was weak). In addition, the strength of mind that allows her to hold out against the Monk's 'fake news' field is what allows her to resist the cyberconversion. A thread through the later part of the series is Missy remembering those she had killed...
Another is the phrase 'Without hope, without witness, without reward'. It appears in Extremis, and also in The Doctor Falls. In the former it is linked to the Doctor rescuing Missy from the executioners because he considers her a friend. In the latter, it helps to swing Missy back to the Doctor's side. It also appeared in some of the other episodes, but these are the most prominent. The development of the various characters through the series was also good. The Doctor is shown to be 'chafing' under the responsibility of guarding Missy.
He is clearly interested in Bill's development, encouraging her to look outside the box, with examples of such occurring throughout the series (even at the end). His weaknesses are also shown, quite well, especially after he's blinded at the space station, and hides it from Bill, with dramatic consequences! (See below for more.) He seems to be desperate for Missy to turn to the good side, and is flat flooted by the appearance of her predecessor on the colony ship. This aspect was also quite well done.
Bill's development was also interesting. She continues to ask questions in every episode (even of 'Razor'). It doesn't get too much. Her savvyness is also well done (except for in Empress of Mars, where it may be a little thick). Overall she was an important part of the storylines, with her mental fortitude helping to defeat the Monks (even if she caused them to take over the planet), and the Cybermen, The former may have seemed like a cheat, but the latter was a lot better done. Nardole was done well aslo.
There was more to him than first met the eye. But it was the storyline involving Missy that was the best aspect of the series. The earlier portions regarding the Vault may have dragged a bit, but after the 'Monk's trilogy' it lead to a very interesting conclusion. Was the Monk's trilogy a mistake? I'm not sure. The Lie of the Land may have been a let down, but the earlier portions involving the Doctor's weakness were done very well, so probably not. Overall, despite this dip in the middle, it was a great series.
8.5/10.

July 2017

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