Doctor Who s10 e7 The Pyramid at the End of the World.

An episode that more or less sets up the next one, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a tale in there.

In terms of story, our alien monks bent on world domination from ‘Extremis’ make a pyramid in the middle of an area where Earth’s different armies face each other.

The Doctor solves the issue with some peace and love, whilst also advocating attacking the Pyramid to show strength.

In a parallel tale, scientists are in a bio-chemical lab with crops and chemicals. 

It turns out that’s the next point of weakness on earth for the monks to exploit as a hungover scientist got a decimal point wrong.

Inevitably, the Doctor has to intervene but his blindness means he can’t work a mechanical numeric lock.

We end with Bill begging the monks for their help and to give her consent as the Doctor’s representative to their take over of the world. 

She also asks for The Doctor’s sight restored to let him escape from the lab.

The concept is one of consent, the monks won’t accept the UN Secretary General’s ‘consent’, they won’t accept the three generals of China, Russia and the US surrendering as they want a genuine affirmation of ‘consent’ to take over the Earth. 

‘To save you, we must be asked’

The Doctor realises the conditions of the monk’s help, he realises their domination and realises it’s the end of freedom on earth.

It’s an allegory after Brexit and the election of Trump. 

Popularist politics and people giving consent by voting for feeling and ideas over facts and reality. 

Perhaps, the simplification of political discussion and debate with a herd of voters overreliant on what they read and see in the media.

‘Power must consent to our dominion.’ ‘We must be wanted, we must be loved.’

Sounds familiar, the alien monks do have a parallel in the world and times that we live in.

There’s fear and paranoia and mistrust with a critical situation that the Doctor can resolve through talking with the army commanders. 

He can’t fix all the world’s problems on the horizon and be everywhere though. The Monks can and will as they’ve modelled for every situation in their artificial realities shown in Extremis.

Through logic and help from Nardole, The Doctor finds the laboratory and narrows the search for the World’s next possible crisis.

We realise that The Doctor isn’t infallible, his blindness doesn’t help in the end where he comes up with a scheme to destroy the laboratory.

The monks intervene after Bill’s heartfelt plea for help. She has no other option but to ask.

Lines worth recalling.

Air, Water, Food, Beer‘ – Nardole’s essentials for life.

It’s your world.’ – The Doctor emphasises his alienness at the point the Generals wanted his council and they end up trying to speak to the monks to give their consent as a ‘smart move’.

Oh my god

No, I’m the Doctor

Conclusion

A conspiracy thriller, a tale of threats and power. Facing fear, standing up to those more powerful than you.

The Doctor runs out of luck, his blindness and Nardole being incapacitated by the chemicals in the lab means the lock’s failsafe numbered tumblers beat him.

Bill acts from love and concern for her friend and the Monk’s take over the world. Quite a cliffhanger.

The Doctor is safe from the Laboratory explosion but is told 

Enjoy your sight Doctor, now you’ll see OUR world.’

I can’t fault Capaldi, Mackie or Lucas, they all excelled and were convincing. 

I felt it was a lot of story to get into 45 minutes. No doubt the usual critics will say it was too complex, it was ambitious storytelling , a development upon The Doctor previously being ‘President of the World’ in times of alien threat and at its core an allegory on power and threat and domination by ‘consent’. 

We also had the context of the Doctor’s blindness, insofar as he was fine for much of the episode until he hit a lock the sonics couldn’t beat.

The story continues in ‘The Lie of the Land.’

Doctor Who Series Ten. Halfway Through.

Extermis took us on a trip backwards and also was a story of might have been. As much as I liked it, there’s the inevitable onslaught on Twitter. ‘Too complicated’ ‘Moffat had to spoil things’ etc. 

The issue from fans being that after 5 straightforward and relatively linear tales to establish Bill and the premise of the vault and the Doctor staying on Earth, the episode had artificial reality and flashbacks. 

At its most simple, the Doctor has his back to the vault, blind and unsure. He receives an email through his Sonic Glasses, which he reads and it also triggers a recollection about saving Missy. 

The email came from a virtual reality version of himself within a simulation created by an alien species that want to invade Earth. His recollection of Missy’s near-execution and the phrases written by his wife, River Song and delivered by her servant, Nardole.

Linear stories are fine and good and I understand where the traditionalists or such viewers and whovians are coming from. 

But the Doctor is a Time Lord travelling in time and space and in a television age where ‘flashbacks’, ‘sideplots’, ‘subplots’ are all prevalent even in conventional contemporary dramas. I’ve recently seen theories that ‘Line of Duty’, a BBC police procedural drama might have a story seeded in its first series. 

Doctor Who is sci-fi with aliens and space travel, what sets it apart is the ability to go back and forward in time too. I think producers and showrunners have usually kept things pretty simple. TARDIS shows up, Doctor and his assistants/companions help someone and bad guy gets defeated. 

The Doctor rarely crosses his own time stream, he doesn’t usually use the TARDIS to go backward slightly from his situation and resolve things merely by time travel. He has met on occasion his previous incarnations, at its most complex and ‘timely-wimey’, the Doctor had a broom and a fez so you could follow his escape from the Pandorica.

So, Extermis wasn’t complex in my view and although different in narrative to the previous five episodes it was very enjoyable. At some point the vault and its occupant had to be explained, at some point, the how’s and whys of Nardole and ‘the Husbands of River Song’ needed an explanation.

I think we’re set for the series last episodes, the Christmas special and the regeneration.

In speculation, names are appearing on the new Doctor and I’ve even seen a convincing but unexplained teaser trailer clip for the new Doctor. We know through the media about a big spoiler as they saw a clip of The Master in the promotional videos for the new series. The fan websites are speculating on the pictures of River Song and Susan Foreman on the Doctor’s desk. Clara has been mentioned too. We’ve had speculation on Bill dying and not being around for Series Eleven.

We can reckon on the creepy alien monks, we can speculate on cybermen. 

I’ll throw my thoughts in below.

I’d love to see River Song, she can’t be dead insofar of her timeline crossing and weaving through the Doctor’s in any case and I wonder if Steven Moffat might have been tempted by a River vs Missy confrontation.

I’ve missed Vastra, Jenny and Strax, but Christmas special could be best hope, on that Christmas special, it might be Capaldi’s last episode but it could be like the Tennant specials in being longer and more involved. If the leaks on some involvement or meeting with the First Doctor are true, then I’ll look forward to it.

In terms of regeneration, there’s a still of the Doctor with arms out regenerating doing rounds so far, but my feeling is that it might be episode eight and may only be to save the Twelfth Doctor’s sight. I’ve seen a theory that the Doctor has spent his regeneration energy (Davros series nine) and that Twelve’s death and regeneration is somehow botched.

On other regeneration news, if it is Kris Marshall as ‘Thirteen’ then fair enough, his time in Death in Paradise combined drama with comedy and his character was slightly eccentric. I think he can carry the role and I think he’s a push closer to Tennant and Smith in age but probably with more experience. I think we may see Thirteen earlier than expected, given some of the quotes and chat in the press and that the regeneration might be a complex one. 

I recently saw a Seventh doctor DVD and the tribulations involving the casting of Sylvester McCoy were included as a feature and his ability to be a comic shambles whilst convingly put across The Doctor in his first drama was interesting to see. I’ve also seen again some of the 1989 series where his Doctor is darker, scheming and manipulative using the pleasantness and humour to screen his doings. There’s certainly an opportunity for a comic actor in the role and certainly Marshall fits that whilst also having creditials of carrying a show and replacing a previous lead too.

We’ll see when the next Doctor is confirmed as the time frame for filming the Christmas Special is now narrowing.

Obviously, in the next few episodes we’ll see Missy in the here and now rather than flashback.

 She won’t have ‘went good’ as suggested at her ‘execution’, she’ll help the Doctor if it suits her. She’ll inevitably betray The Doctor, but given how he dealt with a scheming Davros previously, I think we can expect the Doctor to have considered that. 

We’ve seen Nardole blossom. He was almost Doctorlike with Bill in Extermis and huge praise for Matt Lucas in patiently building the role. I think there’s more to come and that he will again somehow save the day.

Pearl Mackie has been tremendous as Bill, but I guess will take a step back for The Doctor for the last six episodes. She’s now an accustomed traveller in the TARDIS, and we’ll see if she is key in the overall arc for the series. If she wants to stay as companion for Thirteen, she should be given the opportunity. I don’t know if a complete blank slate for Series 11 is a good idea or not.

Capaldi has been tremendous as Twelve he deserves a memorable finale and I hope the next six episodes starting tonight are as good as the first six.

I’ll post on ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’ later.

Doctor Who s10 e6 – Extremis.

In pre-credits we initially think the Doctor is escorted by an execution party to his death on a planet where executions are carried out for the whole galaxy. 

It turns out to be that the Doctor is to carry out the execution of Missy.

Now this scene is titled as Long Ago, but it’s at a point after Darillium. 

Missy comments on it. Clearly the Doctor and River Song did spend those years there and it also seems this is after her death.

There’s a speech made by Nardole to the Doctor that are his mistresses words. We also see River’s Tardis blue diary.

Plenty enough to bite upon there as a flashback in itself.

We return to the Doctor sat at the wall of the vault and his glasses have received an email..

Then the titles..

The University Lecture Theatre and the Doctor is at the podium in darkness, a group of men enter the room and the sonic glasses analyse their age height and build.

It’s priests, cardinals and the Pope himself.

‘Dottore – read the Vetitas.’

The Pope begging the doctor to read the Document that has sent a number of Vatican scholars to kill themselves. 

Then a comic scene in Bill’s house with the Pope appearing  whilst she’s on a date and a pile of bishops and priests in her bedroom have came out the TARDIS.

Team Who assembled.

We are then led into the Vatican’s hidden library of prohibited books.

The mystery is of a book marked ‘Veritas’, but at the same time robe clad aliens are using portals to enter the library and kill off the Cardinal.

We have a scene where Bill gets told off by Nardole. he removes his glasses and with them his friendly comic manner to tell her his ground rules before they go and explore one of the portals.

Meanwhile, the Doctor uses a gadget from the Tardis to try and restore his sight to read the book. 

He asks for help from a figure in the library that he believes is the Cardinal who sought their help, it’s the scary alien monks.

In flashback again, we have Missy’s last moments and the dialogue between them. ‘I am your friend’  she says. 

The execution square makes it’s zapping charge to kill Missy.

The Doctor also makes an Oath as a member of the Prydonian Chapter to guard her body for a thousand years…

So we have our Oath and our occupant of the Vault.

We travel with Bill and Nardole through the portals, once to the Pentagon then to CERN.

CERN have a suicide pact after reading the Veritas and we have a remarkable scene with a Professor there challenging Bill and Nardole to say random numbers and they both say the same numbers each time they are asked to do so.

In the library, The Doctor faces the alien monks, before he too goes through the portal, but not with the book but a translation on a laptop computer.

Bill and Nardole return to the room where the portals are centred and we get a conclusion from Nardole.

This isn’t real as the number test is a way of proving that you’re in a simulated environment and that’s what the scientists did with their death pact.

Nardole realises the projections and the things they’ve seen are simulations.

Nardole proves it by dematerialising in front of Bill, who then seeks The Doctor finding him in the Oval Office at the White House through another portal.

Bill asks The Doctor what’s real. 

The Doctor says that the Veritas is about a shadow world and the shadow test is that which the staff at CERN did with the numbers.

The Doctor realises it’s all a simulation and explains it to Bill and she realises the string of numbers said at CERN were all said by everyone as a way to prove the simulation. 

Bill then disappears and The Doctor faces the Alien Monk, he realises what Missy has said at her execution and looks at River’s Diary in his pocket.

He finds faith and uses his sonic glasses to send the email from his simulation. 

‘Your simulation is too good.’

‘Even a jumped up subroutine can send an email.’

We return to The Doctor at the Vault, Simulation-Doctor has beaten the Aliens practice invasion by emailing him from inside it.

He talks to the door of the Vault. ‘Missy, you said you were my friend.’

It is revealed in flashback that the Doctor fiddled with the wiring. He tells the executioners to look under fatalities caused by The Doctor. The executioners run as the numbers go higher and higher.

‘Something’s coming Missy and I’m blind. How can I save them when I’m lost to the Dark?’

My view

As good an episode of Nu-Who as there is. 

The set up is paced and deliberate, an ancient text, a prophecy, a mystery. A call on the Doctor by the Pope, the planet in peril. It’s been compared to Dan Brown and that’s unfair, it’s cleverer than that.

We have flashback, we have Missy and the Doctor and she’s been caught and he’s there as a member of the same species to execute her.

The Oath is interesting, presumably it’s a Time Lord thing, as is the guarding of the body, but clearly The Doctor has changed the rules by keeping his antagonist alive.

We hear Missy say she can change and be good, would we believe her? 

Would she change after years in the Vault? Would The Master help a blinded Doctor even if the earth was under Alien attack?

Missy and Doctor. An able being in Nardole who can pilot the Tardis and a random factor in Bill, whose humanity works with the Doctor.

So we have ourselves a series. It’s built up well and different genres have been at play with sci-fi and horror and scares all in the mix.

Moffat had tied up Darillium. He’s brought Missy back in an interesting way, although the Vault has been a mild distraction, The Oath may be more of a thing. Missy owes her life to the Doctor, but she’s been in a vault for seventy years or more.

The Master at the best of times has never been sane in either Nu or classic Who. The schemes and plans to kill the planet. The ideas to foil the Doctor. 

Could we have a twisted mix of Doctor and Master as the last of the Time Lords saving earth from a greater threat? 

Can the Doctor risk it. Would Nardole as his valet, minder and keeper of River’s conscience allow it? 

I wonder. 

As episodes go. 9/10 solid stuff that drew together the hints dropped and although knowing Missy was in the Vault isn’t earth shattering. theres plenty to draw on.

Having a Face..(Aspergers)


Yes there’s days I don’t want a grey beard. 

I only really shave if I feel my skin is irritated. It has been and I had a spot/coldsore thing annoying me.

The beard was a bit scraggy and I just wanted it off.

So I bare face for practicality. I don’t much like it and I’ll be Beardy again soon.

The point is that I don’t particularly judge appearances, unless someone noticeably dirty, drunk or stinks of alcohol.

I see people Day to Day.  I might notice differences in dress or haircuts, but I’m not socially equipped to do that kind of talk. It’s not my bag.

I’m not bothered on my own appearance, as long as I’m enough ‘normal’ to pass with the Neurotypicals within the wide enough range of normal that they have.

Wearing the glasses as in the picture generally means Im not trying to be normal, although I carry clear glasses and sunglasses too if I feel they’d be better or if  light conditions aren’t harsh.

If I was trying hard, I’d shave more often, I’d have regular haircuts. Both are sensory issues though and I can’t  get across to the NT’s that if I do something like that, it’s not for their benefit or to keep them happy. I don’t have their need to conform.

I wear clothes that are comfortable not for any other purpose. My work shirts are same fabric but slightly different colour/pattern only to show I wash and rotate order.

It’s margins of error and I’ve made mistakes with my appearance and my clothes. Through life experience I have a pattern and a way and a routine.

I still get stumped if I have to go out to something though.

PIP – a statistic to them (Autism)

Sir Henry Brooke blog

I found this breathtaking, basically I’m a Key Performance Indicator for the Department of Work and Pensions. 

As for Personal Independence Payments the KPI is for 80% rejection at Mandatory Reconsideration.

This makes the stress that I had with completing original form and the stress of then being rejected and the stress of them the interview by a healthcare professional, essentially just a management measure by the DWP.

A target, a figure, a statistic. 

Whilst, as a mug, I worried.

No compliance with the intention of the Law creating PIP, no compliance with people’s medical conditions and a deliberate targeting of rejection as a means to limit the benefits paid and numbers of claims made.

I’m a pawn in their systems until I appeal to the court’s service.

Anxiety, Worry and Stress are pretty much my condition. I’m also bound by rules and routines and I’m not brilliant verbally.

I felt like I was hit like a stone in the stomach every time that I was rejected at PIP. 

Being autistic, I don’t lie, so not being believed really isn’t nice and it’s also frustrating and it sets off anxiety etc, etc.

If the sole purpose of the system is to deny and spin out until the Courts Service appeal stage, then more people need to know this.

Here’s the News. (Scottish Politics)

Okay. Here’s a tweet:-


Murdo Fraser MSP (Mid-Scotland and Fife.)

Here’s the tweet it references:-

The Scottish Mail on Sunday is sister publication to the Scottish Daily Mail.

Here’s the article:-

The article leads on a statistic quoted by Ruth Davidson MSP on functional illiteracy in Scotland and runs onto criticism of Alec Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon as First Ministers. 

It references the General Election and presumably is one of the leading political articles in the newspaper.

Here’s another tweet.

A tweet from ‘The Ferret’ highlighting their article in today’s ‘Sunday Herald’ that verifies the statement made by Ruth Davidson.

Here’s the conclusion of their article:-

So, do we have politicians tweeting articles by journalists based on claims made by politicians that aren’t exactly right or that are an ‘interpretation’ themselves. 

The study quoted was apparently reissued with a more up to date version a few days before Ms Davidson spoke at Holyrood.

Is it healthy in a modern democracy where we need one sector of the media to verify the other?