Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

That’s it. Series 10 is over. None of us are happy to see it go, but many of us are happy about how it went. Join Erika, Katrina, Lynne, and Tansy as we hash over this finale and discuss what we might see (and what we want to see) at Christmas.

How do you think the Doctor fell? Let us know in the comments!


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Comments on: "Episode 144 – The Doctor Falls Over" (22)

  1. Definitely in the Bill-Heather needing more buildup party. Not because Bill needed to be seen pining, but because it would have been good for the audience to be reminded of Heather’s existence, though in such a way that Bill can’t guarantee or even expect that Heather should turn up at the end and rescue her. Difficult!

  2. I also agree with the Master’s gender essentialism – I think the Missy characterisation owes a lot to the Master’s misogyny demonstrated in the RTD era.

  3. i think it’s quite telling that the only one of the farmer/villagers not to be instinctively fearful of cyberbill is alit who is both black & a child

  4. I just want to answer Tansy and the others about “yet another regeneration at Christmas” with the meta. Lest we forget the true meaning of Christmas, which is death, rebirth and renewal. The sacrifice of the winter King to bring back the sun. In this case the renewal of the series and new stories.

  5. Laurie said:

    I’m in agreement with all of you that this Doctor has had one of the best (if not the best) character arcs, certainly in recent years. That’s not to say that the characterizations of past Doctors weren’t great. We’ve always had fantastic writing and acting, but just to take Eleven, for example, he was charming, boyish and affable in his first episode, and he was charming, boyish and affable in his last. It was a lovely characterization, but the ones who we really got to see change and grow during his era were the companions, not so much the Doctor.

    But to watch ‘Deep Breath” and then turn around and watch “The Doctor Falls” you can see how much Twelve has grown. He’s still the Doctor, but he’s let go of all those self-protective quirks. He’s been coached by Clara in some of the social graces peculiar to Earth. He’s had a real immersion period on Earth, something like 50-70 years. And he’s suffered. He’s lost both River and Clara, the result being that his compassionate nature (which he’s always had) is much more apparent. I think that’s a beautiful arc, and one that resonates for most of us. (Most of us are softened by loss.)

    And I just love the little costuming choices and acting choices that make that so apparent: softening the rather severe hair and clothes, and even the way Capaldi pitches his voice and has more of a softness in his eyes in this series. But despite all that I wouldn’t call him soft. It just feels like in this series the Doctor has really tapped into his best self. He is embodying “the Doctor” all the time, (not just in his best moments, per his conversation with Davros.) And I can understand him not wanting to change, because he’s done the work. He’s as authentic as he’s ever been. Who would want to let that go and start all over again?

    And just on a side note, that part at the climax of the battle where, he stops and says, “Doctor, let it go. Time enough,” and then explodes the area…gah! All the feels! Objectively I can say it’s a good time for Capaldi to go. His Doctor has completed his journey and is ending on a very high note. But at the same time, Curse you, Capaldi, for leaving so soon!

    • Sarah said:

      Agreed with this post. The Twelfth Doctor’s psychological journey has really spoken to me. Unfortunately, quite a lot of people have no understanding of any of it, so I’ve had to listen to piles of complaints about how badly he’s been written and acted. *sigh*

      Oh, lord, that scene where he’s been shot several times, and his body wants to regenerate, but he just wants to finish the mission and be done with it… that gets me so emotional, as does Bill finding him apparently dead on the battlefield and sobbing so hard that even her Cyberself cries. Total emotional manipulation, and I don’t even care, LOL.

      However, I’m taken aback by the Doctor as suicide bomber, even if it’s against Cybermen, and I doubt he’d do that against any other lifeform except Daleks. It was indeed the only choice, and is a callback to “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.” Still, oww.

      • Laurie said:

        I always try to be open to the fact that not everybody on the planet will share my opinion, but when people start hating on Twelve, I just don’t get it. How can you not see how great he is!

        Anyway, I hadn’t thought about that final scene as a suicide bombing (though, yeah, that’s exactly what it is), but as you said, he’s only got bad choices. And while the Doctor can be violent at times, violence (whether to himself or others) is always a last resort. The fact is he’s been dying for awhile, maybe even as far back as the “Empress of Mars.” (I’m thinking of the scene where Missy looks him up and down and asks him if he’s okay…which also makes me wonder where, in this series, that fatal blow happened…) So, I guess that softens it a bit for me. He’s dying anyway. Now, he’s just trying to choose the most strategic way he’s going to go out, the way that’s going to save the most lives. (Sigh), he is the man who makes the hard choices.

  6. Thanks for another entertaining and thought-provoking podcast!

    I can understand why people were upset by what happened to Bill, but I’m sure Moffat didn’t want us to feel happy about it. If our central characters are treated with kindness and compassion by everyone they meet, and never have anything unpleasant happen to them, then there’s no story. Certainly not a Doctor Who story! However, I speak as a white straight Scotsman, and it’s not my business to tell other people what they can be upset about.

    I will be fascinated to see what Moffat will do with the Christmas special. This will probably be the last chance he’ll ever get to play with the Doctor Who toybox so he’s probably got a mental checklist of things he hasn’t done yet, and he’ll be trying to cram in as many as he can. It’s going to be great fun to see the 12th Doctor teamed up with the 1st, regardless of who is playing him! 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on Confessions of a Curator, Editor, Geek and commented:

    ICYMI, New Verity where we discuss the finale!

  8. Since the Master is a “Master of Disguise” I want to believe that this was not the first time John Sims’ Master placed eyeliner on his face. I think in the Witch’s Familiar, Missy told the Daleks that she could “…afford the upgrade.” So, with Missy displaying the ability to change, I didn’t find that to be weak, I saw growth.

    I wanted to love Bill so much this series, but I never really connected with her. Having said that, her performance in The Pilot, and her questioning the Doctor in Thin Ice, really blew me away. Pearl Mackie’s ability to “act natural” may be the best I have ever seen from a companion. Even when she plays up humor or joy, it’s just natural.

    Being a person of color, I did find the stuff with Bill uncomfortable, but the drama and stakes were so high, my despair had to share space for glee as well. I am a Missy Fan all the way, but I think Sims’ Master has hatched some pretty crazy planes. Well, I don’t know. Dark Water’s comment about, “Don’t Cremate Me.” scared the heck out of me and left me disturbed for about a week.

    And one last thing about Pearl Mackie. Her performance in The Doctor Falls is unforgettable. Sims, Gomez, Mackie, and Capaldi’s performances were off the charts. And as far as the ending, I’m so glad Bill lived. I don’t care if it was done with wonky science or magic. Personally, I needed her to live And I happened to enjoy that she was saved by something beyond our comprehension and even the Doctor’s.

  9. Neil A Ottenstein said:

    Regarding the “fatal flaw” in fully converting Bill late which may have helped her retain her identity – remember that the Master was orchestrating matters in the Hospital there. It was with great delight that he was able to tell The Doctor that he was just a couple of hours too late if he wanted to stop Bill’s conversion. The Master had everything perfectly timed just so he could say that to The Doctor. He wanted the Doctor to encounter a cyberman that was in pain and could say “I am Bill Potts.”

  10. ccarol said:

    Great episode about a great episode. 🙂

  11. So far, the Doctor has (on screen) had four queer companions – Jack, River, Clara and Bill.

    So far, the Doctor has (on screen) had four companions who were killed, then resurrected as some type of immortals – Jack, River, Clara and Bill.

    This seems like a weirdly specific coincidence. Is this a common trope for queer people in fiction that I haven’t previously noticed?

  12. MJ Fouldes said:

    Lovely Podcast as ever, Gentleladies.
    Once again it accompanied my dog walk with Yana.

    I found this episode even MORE emotional the second time through. I loved it but on the second viewing have Cyber-Bill find the fallen Doctor and sinking to its knees was heart-wrenching. And then when it cut to Pearl sobbing her eyes out I was in floods too. It was definitely better on the second watch (even though I loved the first watch!)

    Also so sad to lose Missy. Such a highlight of Capaldi’s tenure! I’d forgotten HOW nasty John Simm’s Master was! Loved seeing him again!!!

    Yay for a First Doctor Xmas! Boo to no more Capaldi!!


  13. Richard S said:

    So, the first time I cried was when Heather emerged. Second tears came soon after, while she was speaking to Bill. Tears of affection, tears of relief. And, “Yay! I can finally watch the previous episode and THRILL at all the huge amount of awesome stuff and NOT STRESS about all the horror.”

    As an aside to the discussion about fan reactions to companions in danger… My personal view is that there are degrees of cliffhanger peril. If you take Mel in the pool in Paradise Towers, or the Doctor’s ill-advised clifftop detour in Dragonfire… probably frightening for kids, but not exactly at the same level of nerve-shredding tension as Sarah’s misstep in Genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor’s agony in The Leisure Hive, the executions on Tara & Androzani, or what supposedly happens to Peri in Mindwarp. (Or what actually happens to Peri after Mindwarp.)

    My big worry about the Cyber-Bill cliffhanger was that it would mean either a wonderful companion was dead, or Moffat would have pull a Valeyard and cheat his way out of it.

    I can remember, earlier in the series, really hoping for the return of the formerly-human Heather, so she and Bill could fly away together. However, somewhere during the middle episodes, I dismissed that idea and then forgot about it entirely, partly due to Moffat Misdirection, but mostly because that theory seemed… if not identical, then certainly too similar to Clara’s escape with formerly-human Ashildr in the previous series finale.

    If I’d bought the Series 10 Part 1 box set, and re-watched The Pilot , I might have realised Cyber-Bill’s tears were a significant clue to her rescue. And I should have guessed Moffat isn’t afraid to re-use his own recent ideas, given the deliberate parallels between the on-screen deaths of Clara & Bill:

    An overconfident Clara (or the Doctor) makes a grave misjudgement…

    Clara (or Bill) gets hit in the chest by a fatal blast of alien energy…

    Clara (or Bill!!!!!) falls to the ground in dramatic slo-mo.

    In the end, I didn’t really mind the plot similarities this time. I loved this story, thanks to idea of the Doctor fighting a real, credible and genuinely terrifying internal threat which was visibly making its way out into the Universe. A few minor grumbles: I’d have liked to see more of the absolutely electric confrontations between Capaldi & Simm. I loved that we saw more of Pearl Mackie, but wondered how the cyber-voice was translating some of her more colloquial dialogue.

    Overall, I found this the best & most satisfying two-parter that Moffat has written, my favourite series finale since Eccleston.

    One (or two) last thing(s), on the subject of social media. The previous Saturday night, a few minutes after World Enough finished on BBC1, I did a search for reviews of that episode. The Google results page was headed by a Twitter post from the Radio Times, along the lines of: “Everyone’s talking about World Enough And Time, but what about David Bradley supposedly returning as the First Doctor for the Xmas special…”

    I’ll confess, I recognised the “Tenth Planet” snow at the start of the story, but I just assumed it meant all my Anneke Wills cameo voiceover fan service was about to be delivered. When I saw David Bradley emerge at the end, my reaction was: thanks, Radio Times. No, really, thanks a LOT.

    I did cheer up afterwards. Saw that the latest DW Fan Show was available on YouTube. Sent a tweet to the show about their floof-oriented Top Of The Locks contest. A few minutes later, I checked my Twitter notifications and found my tweet had been favourited… by a Twitter user named @ rtalalay.

    Yep. Best end to a DW series EVER.

  14. Ummm…sorry for the length of this.

    On the whole, I felt that this was the second best season finale of the Moffat era (can’t top last season). And I feel that the speech the Doctor gave to the Masters was his finest yet.
    I had also predicted, way back when I was still watching “The Pilot,” that Heather was going to come back, probably at the end of episode twelve. But by the time they finally brought her back, I had forgotten about her completely (apparently I was not alone in that). So for me, her return wasn’t as a much as surprise as it was an “oh yeah!” I didn’t need to see Bill pining for someone she barely knew, but it it was nice to see Heather come back for that date. And because it was telegraphed so clearly and so far in advance, I didn’t have a problem with it at all. I thought it was handled quite elegantly.
    The one problem I had (and it bothers more and more as I have more time to think on it) was that whole “Don’t bother trying to regenerate. I gave you the full setting” or whatever the exact phrasing was. Was that really necessary? We all know the Master will be back someday, in some form or another. Do we really need that whole “no, this time it’s really the end-no for reals-no this time we really mean it” trope? As a fan, it’s disingenuous. As an enjoyer of brilliant storytelling, it’s boring.
    I don’t think skipping that line of dialogue would have taken anything away from the drama of that scene. Because even if she does get to regenerate, it’s still the death of Missy. It’s still a poignant scene.

    I have no problem seeing David Bradley play the First Doctor even though I have already seen (and enjoyed) his portrayal of William Hartnell. Why? Because I also saw Peter Capaldi play Lobus Caecilius, John Frobisher, and the Twelfth Doctor, and he was brilliant in all three roles. And I also remember seeing Colin Baker play Commander Maxil before getting the role as the Sixth Doctor. Even my thirteen year-old brain had no problem distinguishing between the roles because I recognized, even then, that it’s all just television. It’s all a big elaborate game of pretend anyway, right?
    And if you’re still having a hard time with it, then just pretend that he is still playing William Hartnell, and the upcoming Christmas Special is just a really long deleted scene from “An Adventure in Space and Time.” 😀

    And lastly: Personally, I don’t understand why everyone hates the “I don’t wanna go” line. Yes, on the face of it, it was kind of meta. But if you look at the scene from the Watsonian perspective, it’s so much more. It was a very real emotional moment for that character.
    Now I understand that the Tenth Doctor haters don’t like how emotional that version of the Doctor was, and they see that line as the cherry on the top of the “so many feels sundae.” And I disregard those people. He’s not your Doctor. Fine. But he IS my Doctor.
    It’s long been established that even though the Doctor retains his memories from one incarnation to the next, he changes completely, from his physical appearance to every facet of his personality. It IS a kind of death. The show goes on, but there really IS a new character in the title role every time this happens. It’s why I’m perfectly comfortable hating the Sylvester McCoy era (minus Battlefield which I actually liked), even though I acknowledge that it is still Doctor Who.
    And let’s look at the regeneration process itself. Even though for us, it’s a pretty light show, for the Doctor, it looks REALLY painful. It looks like he really is dying.
    And let’s not forget that the Doctor usually doesn’t get along with his other selves. The fact that the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors really seemed to enjoy each others’ company was an anomaly. The rest of them could barely stand each other. If the Second Doctor remembered what his third incarnation was going to be like, then it only makes even more sense that he would hate the idea of losing himself and changing into that person.
    So if YOU were seconds away from experiencing all of that…would YOU want to go?

    On a lighter note, I see a lot of people talking about the impending Christmas Special as “Moffat’s last Doctor Who show ever.” Why? Why can’t he run the show, leave, and then write the occasional episode again? I’m rather annoyed that RTD hasn’t returned for the occasional one-off episode, and I’d really like to see Moffat come back and shake things up every once in a while. I don’t know. What do you guys think?

    • Neil A Ottenstein said:

      I don’t know about “ever”, but probably for quite some time. I think that with a new show-runner if you see a show written by a previous show-runner, some people might see it as the previous show-runner coming in “to save the day”. Sometimes it is about appearances.

      • Fair point. I hadn’t considered that. Do you think that means we might finally see a return of RTD during the Chibnall era? And if that is the case, then we might not see the return of Moffat until the next era after that.

      • Neil A Ottenstein said:

        I think it more likely to see RTD return in the Chibnall era than Moffat. Note RTD did write an episode of Sarah Jane Adventures with the 11th Doctor. (I haven’t seen that season yet.) Of course he is busy with his own projects at the moment.

  15. Lynne was right about everything except for when Tansy was righter!

  16. Regarding your observations about makeup as battle armor: there was a recent Broadway musical about the feud between Coco Chanel and Estee Lauder. The title? War Paint.

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