Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

Two weeks in a row of Doctor Who feels like such a treat! Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we discuss whether “Spyfall Part 2” lived up to the amazing ride of part 1 or was a total let-down. These Verities present a range of opinions.

What did you think of part 2 of “Spyfall”? Drop us a tweet or let us know in the comments!


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Comments on: "Episode 213 – Spyfalling or Rising?" (9)

  1. Download lknk seems to be pointing to ep 212…? =:oo

  2. I appreciated the discussion about how the Doctor disabled the Master’s perception filter, especially how everyone got their moment to explain how and why they felt. I fall more on the side of never wanting to see the Doctor hand anyone over to the Nazis, especially a person of colour, no matter what the story justification is. If that is where your writing has led you, honestly, write something else.

  3. type2values said:

    In answer to Deb’s question, I don’t think we are ‘owed’ an explanation of the current Master- where he fits in the timelone, how he survived etc. It can be fun to discuss and theorise, but ultimately isn’t important. I laughed when Steven Moffat kind of shrugged this off in Season 9, ep 1 – this may not be the exact quote, but – Clara says to Missy “I thought you died.” Missy replies “Dying is for other people.” Go figure!

    Just as a general comment – I thought Spyfall part 2 had many things I liked, but was a bit overstuffed and there were some very dark, uncomfortable moments (eg the Nazis), as you have discussed. I hope this season doesn’t go too dark, but I’ll take it week by week…

  4. Squibby said:

    I agree with Erika, Deb and Kat – with Erika re the unnecessary historical figures, with Deb re the racial slur, and with Kat that I don’t need to know where this Master fits in the Masterial Continuim.

    So, did you notice what was important about the Master’s job? He’s the ultimate alien expert because he manipulated events to remove the other experts. That means… THE MASTER USED HIS INFLUENCE TO GET UNIT ABOLISHED! That’s huge.

  5. I think that Chibnall may have discretely confirmed in the episode that Dhawan’s Master is post-Missy. It’s hidden in plain sight in that Logopolis reference – ‘Did I ever apologise for that?’ When would the Master/Missy ever apologise for anything, except for during their years in the vault. The implication is that an itemised list of apologies/regrets (we see one instance of this process in S10) was never completed, and that many of the ‘biggies’ remain unapologised for.

    Re: the mindwipe: I agree with Erika that Chibnall’s intention was very likely to respect Ada’s and Noor’s future agency (by having the Doctor restore it) and show that the Doctor, post-Clara, is trying to be progressive and factor that issue in rather than think purely in terms of the mechanics of the web of time or whatever. The consent issue makes it uncomfortable but it may have been deliberately uncomfortable, to show that the Doctor’s actions can be imperfect when options are limited.
    Another dimension to the agency aspect: we’ve seen (in The Angels Take Manhattan) how if too much of the documented future is prescribed by having it recited in the past, it locks it in as an inescapable destiny. If the Doctor feels that this is what has happened to Ada (she tells her who she ‘must’ marry, that she ‘must marry at all, and then exposes her to a future that makes clear what her future contribution ‘must be’) in particular, then the memory wipe is the only way to ensure that Ada can live out the rest of her life as a person with free will, not a fixed space-time event where every future consenting yes or decisive no is simply a matter of record rather than being the result of her free will.

  6. Okay, first let me say that I was wonderfully not-spoiled on the Sacha Dhawan surprise…but just barely. I had a ticket to see the two-part theatrical premiere on Sunday the 5th. So I deliberately waited to watch it. I couldn’t wait any longer, so VERY early on Sunday morning I went ahead and watched the first part. Thank goodness I did.
    When Sacha gave that line about the “spy…master,” I yelled out “no!” in excitement. This wonderful thing could not be the wonderful thing that I think it is, could it? …It IS! This was the glorious shocker that I had not seen coming, a shocker that I haven’t experienced since the climactic revelation of the Master in “Utopia.” Doctor Who had finally managed to really shock me again.
    Then I went on Facebook to wish my friend a happy birthday. And what immediately popped up in my feed was a meme that just openly stated that Sacha Dhawan is the Master. It wasn’t even clever. It was just, “This is who he is.” Thank heavens I had not waited to watch the show in theatres a scant few hours later. I would have had to swear bloody vengeance on the administrator of a Doctor Who fandom page (who posted the meme themselves!). Keep in mind that I did not go TO the fandom page. This inelegant spoiler of a meme just popped up in my feed, uninvited. Grr!

    Erika, my concern about the “Timeless Child” plotline is that it’s beginning to sound a little too much like the “Cartmel Master Plan.” And that is probably the only thing that could get me to stop watching this show that I have loved for my entire life…
    …at least until a new showrunner comes along to sweep that under the rug.

    Now…on to the meat of this post. Sorry, type2values. You’ll want to skip the rest of this.

    Deb, you are absolutely correct. Open racism is on the rise. And for that very reason, we NEED to expose it. We need to confront it. And we need to show people just how ugly it is. And the greatest, ugliest poster children for open racism are the Nazis. Like you, I was very disappointed in the buffoonery we saw in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” It’s fine to mock the Nazis when they aren’t a threat. But when their style of governance is infesting our current governments, to mock and belittle them is to ignore the very real threat that is on the rise.

    This form of education is the original edict of this show. And I for one, am delighted to see Doctor Who taking a stand against fascism and racism. And not by using the show’s traditional stand-in for these hateful values: the Daleks, but by actually going back to the true evil that inspired them. Keep in mind that racism is not only becoming mainstream here in the United States. It is also becoming mainstream in the United Kingdom.
    Having Sacha Dhawan’s Master posing as a Nazi reflected the allegory of Hitler’s own deceit, as a man who preached ethnic purity and the mythological “Aryan Race” when it was suggested by Nazi official Hans Frank that Hitler himself was secretly half-Jewish. While that has turned out not to be true, the message of hypocrisy is still just as valid. This treatment of the Master feels uncomfortable, and it SHOULD.
    Having the Doctor confront the Nazis sends an important message, not just to television viewers, but to children (and teens) watching the show. Showing the Doctor defeating a foe who is adopting Nazism as a tool or just to be seen as “edgy” shows that sort of thing is NOT to be tolerated. And having her defeat that foe by exposing him to his fellow Nazis is both a splash of cold water to the faces of those (very real) youngsters of today who might think “this brand is cool or edgy” and is just deserts for a foul villain.

    But this is the part of your discussion that really disturbs me. I’m hearing a lot of folks saying that they don’t want to see Nazis on their televisions, and I think that sort of head-in-the-sand approach is a missed opportunity on several levels.
    I see it as a missed opportunity because we can open and unpack a discussion about fascism in a safe venue before we have to deal with it in our city streets. You may not be seeing this in your daily life, but I personally know people who are so terrified of socialism that they are wearing blinders when it comes to fascism. One former friend in particular was making some very disturbing pro-Nazi comments before I had to walk away from that relationship. He was saying the kind of things that you expect to hear from a white supremacist in Charlottesville, not from a systems engineer in Sonora.
    And I see it as a missed opportunity because there are children growing up with little understanding of what fascism is all about and the horrors that come with it. You would be shocked to see how soft an approach modern history school books are taking with the Nazis, at least here in the United States. Do you remember the old argument about “how many Jews were murdered in the Nazi concentration camps”? It was an act of idiocy to be debating with those people about the number of millions of people that were slaughtered. Whether it was one million or six, the fact that people were trying to argue about it is just marginally more offensive to me than the people who were willing to take on that debate. Arguing about the scale of an atrocity is an attempt to diminish the atrocity. And engaging in that debate is abetting that diminishment.

    Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In this time, more than any other in the show’s history, I applaud its bravery and its commitment to stand against racism, hate, and fascism, even when the discussion may be uncomfortable. I feel that discomfort is better than the alternative.

    What do you think about this? Do you think that Doctor Who has no business in trying to teach children that racism and fascism are wrong? Do you feel that is a task that should be left to the classroom and not confronted on television? And perhaps more importantly, do you believe that could actually work? Or do you believe, as I do, that it is important for us to be reminded, especially in these times, that “darkness never wins”?

    • Thank you michaelj0704 for your discussion above. I also think the reality of what the Nazis were really like is fading, and being reminded is important in and out of the classroom.

  7. Squibby said:

    “What do you think about this? Do you think that Doctor Who has no business in trying to teach children that racism and fascism are wrong? Do you feel that is a task that should be left to the classroom and not confronted on television? And perhaps more importantly, do you believe that could actually work? Or do you believe, as I do, that it is important for us to be reminded, especially in these times, that “darkness never wins”?”

    For me, definitely that it is important to be reminded that “darkness never wins”.

    Doctor Who has always confronted fascism and racism – that was the point of the Daleks, which gave families the opportunity to discuss those issues and see the challenges is facing racism. So parents had a way to explain their WW2 experiences to their kids in 1964.

    One of my annoyances with the treatment of Davros in various stories from the 6th Doctor onwards, was the lack of focus on his fascism and racism. He became a whiny ranter at times and not truly scary.

    What Spyfall part 2 needed for me was a comment from the Doctor to the Master about why the Doctor was outing the Master as non-Aryian, and perhaps that he needs to learn why racism is bad. Some comment that pointed out that stealing O’s appearance is the ultimate in cultural/body appropriation

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