Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

This weird and froggy episode may not have landed perfectly for all of us, but we find a lot to say. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lizbeth as we dive through the looking glass and into Norway. There’s a lot to cover, but really, it’s all about the sandwich.

What did you think of this one? Let us know in the comments!


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Download or listen now (runtime 1:32:20) 

Comments on: "Ep 184 – Calgon: It Takes You Away" (9)

  1. I liked this episode. The horror stuff was nice, and I was slightly disappointed when it became clear the episode wasn’t going to follow through on that, but I kind of expected as much, so fair enough. I even liked the frog!

    I enjoyed the sandwich, and I was amused when Deb jumped straight from that into a discussion about sex scenes in books!

    Interesting point about the dialogue being lacking. I’ve been a bit meh about most of the stories this year and I’m wondering if that could have been helped if some more sparkling dialogue had papered over the cracks in the plots? Hmmmm.

  2. Great episode Verities!

    I am so very much on team Deb this week! What Hanne’s father did to her was emotional abuse. I did accept that it may have been born out of grief and ignorance but that does not excuse the behaviour, nor lessen the torture – yes, I’m using the T word! – that his child went through, hiding under tables in terror, convinced she had lost both her parents! She will live with the consequences of her father’s betrayal for the rest of her life. I had the same reaction as Deb, I think, in that as the Tardis team left I cringed that this child was being left in the care of this horrendously selfish and unreliable man. Sadly though, as is often the case in real life, it was still probably the best outcome for Hanne.

    On a much more cheerful note though, I very much enjoyed the weird Mind Robber / Celestial Toymaker vibe I got from this story and the unexpected arrival of the frog on a chair embodying the sentient universe of the Solitract (sp?) really worked for me. It’s the Omega anti-verse, that exists only at one being’s whim, done right! (Although I do admit to also really liking the Gel Guards!) I also continue to adore Jodie’s portrayal of the Doctor, how beautiful the show looks and sounds, and the ongoing brilliant performances by all three companions.

    As for the dialogue I only had one moment of being less than completely on board and that was the Doctor’s lengthy exposition about the nature of the sentient universe. While I enjoyed some of the old family tale idea, the actual ‘Oh, I know who the baddy is’ bit didn’t quite work for me. I also find the name ‘Solitract’ kind of silly, unconvincing and kind of ‘bad’ science fiction-y. Not sure why. Pretty sure it’s just me.

    Anyway, finally – this comment is way longer than I intended sorry – I have to say that knowing that at some point the Ryan / Graham ‘Grandad’ moment was going to happen, I have been somewhat dreading how they would play it. To my relief this felt like the best possible time and best way for it to happen. This was not Ryan coming around to accepting Graham as his adopted Grandfather, or saying it because he was going to lose Graham and would therefore never have the opportunity to say it. This was simply Ryan recognising how shaken Graham was, losing Grace all over again, and choosing to be kind. He then intentionally undercuts the significance of the moment in the very next line, in a typical Ryan fashion, with a dig about age and deafness! I really appreciated the lightness of touch here and I think it was all the more effective and affecting because of it.

    Thanks again for a fascinating listen. Onwards to episode 10!

  3. I, too, was slightly spoiled for the frog moment, but since it came around at the very end it did surprise me (not so fun… expecting a frog at every turn… open the wardrobe, frog? nope… monster in the woods… tiny frog with giant roar? nope…).
    My “aha!” moment came when one of you (Erica? Deb?) mentioned the “fairy tale” vibe of the episode… little cabin in the woods, frightened child, dead mother, BAM! Frog!! Of course. A fine symbol of the fairy tale. Maybe it’s just me, but at that moment the frog made sense, theme-wise (also the Doctor’s mention of seven grandmothers – grannies being another excellent fairy tale element).

    So are there 10, or 11 episodes this season? I thought the next one was the last. I know they aren’t doing two-parters… so, am I missing an upcoming one?

    • Sarah42 said:

      There are ten S11 episodes, then a New Year’s special, which I guess counts more as a special than as S11.

  4. I loved the fun silly parts, like the dirt, the wooly rebellion (100% brilliant idea) the frog, and etc. But like Deb I cannot deal with child danger in my entertainment. (Haven’t watched Broadchurch for that reason.) I hated the dad in this one, but actually, since the daughter was so awesomely tough, smart, and far more mature than her parent (and she lives) I think I was heart-hurt worse by the little ruffian going under the Thames in Thin Ice. It’s still one of my favorite 12th Doctor eps, but really, that was horrible. This one was not as bad for me. Stupid dumb dad, hope he learned something, moving on. (In Liz’s corner the speaker by itself, as a thing, was hilarious.)

    I’m taking much longer to come around to the new Doctor than I expected. I was so excited to have her, and didn’t at all imagine I could be disappointed. Perhaps by a story or two, as is normal, sure, but “flat” is a great description. I think that the randomly clunky dialogue has been my biggest stumbling block. It just gets on my nerves, and then that gets in my way more than some folks, perhaps. Snappy writing is one of my usual delights in the show, and while I have loved the stories for the most part, that edge is most definitely missing. (Yes, agree with comment above, the exposition is trying. The Doctor either knows too much too easily. then explains it all, or she knows nothing and repeats “I don’t know” far too often. I’d prefer a middle ground.)

    Thanks as always for helping me think about this more broadly and more deeply than I ever could on my own. Even in my semi-distress I find so many things in your conversation that help me critique my own vague feelings both negative and positive. I always feel more kindly towards this iteration of the show after listening to you, and I deeply appreciate that.

    • “I cannot deal with child danger in my entertainment.”

      Sorry, but I really struggle with this idea. Should dramatic entertainment be an ultra-safe, sanitised version of reality? Do we want to tell children that the world is a totally safe place where no harm could ever befall them? And that all adults make the correct decisions, at all times? That would be a horribly irresponsible lie.

      What are fairy tales, if not cautionary tales for children? You take the ‘child danger’ out of those, and there can be no fairy tales.

      When did we develop this wacky idea that everything presented in fiction is a manifesto for how people should behave in real life?

  5. Andrew said:

    This was one of the best episodes of the season and the frog was definitely a highlight.

    But my main reason for posting is to offer support for Liz, because Farscape is brilliant and easily has one of the most interesting ranges of main characters of any SF series. Here’s one vote for “Down and Safe” to cover Farscape (once they’ve finished with B7 of course). I’d definitely increase my Patreon support for that.

    Er, sorry to hijack the comment thread for that. Frogs!

  6. I have to say I wasn’t surprised at all with the frog when it showed up at the end of this episode. Grace talked about the frog necklace that both Graham and Ryan had given her, so I thought it was a surrogate for them in some way with the doctor.

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